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Report: NBA Potentially Starting 2020-21 Season in December

The Athletic’s Shams Charania had the scoop.

NBA: Playoffs-Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The week already figured to be a busy one for the league, as the mutually agreed upon deadline for negotiating changes to the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and player’s union is set for October 30. The league’s board of governors has been holding virtual calls to go through the different areas that need attention, and one of those areas is the actual start date of the season. According to previous reports, the most popular date was widely considered to be in mid-January, but The Athletic’s Shams Charania provided an update that puts the new season much sooner.

In his article, Charania goes through some of the driving forces behind this surprising acceleration, including the financial ramifications of starting the season on (or before) the Christmas holiday. That seems important, given the salary cap and luxury tax thresholds are still under discussion, and the outcome will significantly impact the Milwaukee Bucks’ offseason moves.

This news comes as a surprise since the league demonstrated a much stronger adherence to guidelines promoting health and safety with the Orlando bubble (relative to their peers in baseball and football), and the previous news from ESPN’s Zach Lowe, Brian Windhorst, and Adrian Wojnarowski indicated that the league’s priority (read: the owners’ priority) was to hold a full season with fans allowed to purchase tickets, concessions, and merchandise enjoy the game inside each team’s home arena, even if that meant a later start.

Regardless, the league has already committed to announcing the start of the new season with no less than eight weeks’ warning, which will give Jon Horst enough time to deploy his offseason moves (whatever moves are available), Mike Budenholzer to figure out what to do differently, and Giannis Antetokounmpo can return from his stay in Europe. Just like with the bubble, this ramp-up period will affect each team equally, and as more details get released we can better predict how these decisions will impact the Bucks.