Report: NBA Targeting Dec. 22 Start Date, 72-Game Schedule

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The NBA's league office told the Board of Governors on Friday that it is targeting Dec. 22 as the start date for the 2020-21 season, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

The league is also considering a 72-game schedule and a potential finish ahead of the 2021 Olympics that could allow players to compete in the Tokyo Games, reports Charania.  

On top of those changes, the NBA "wants to continue to incorporate the play-in tournament that was utilized in the Orlando restart to determine the eighth seed in the Eastern and Western Conference playoffs," according to Charania. 

ESPN first reported the Board of Governors' Friday meeting to discuss possible changes this season, including a Christmas Day start, playing fewer than 82 games and holding matchups before fans are allowed in all teams' arenas. 

Once a scheduling decision is reached, it will be presented to the National Basketball Players Association for approval. 

According to ESPN, some teams have questioned if starting around Christmas Day is even possible since the season just ended on Oct. 11. Others have suggested opening dates around Martin Luther King Day in mid-January. 

However, Charania reports people "have warmed" to the possibility of a quick start for the upcoming season since returning to the NBA's typical schedule will help generate revenue.

Last month, NBA commissioner Adam Silver stated that the league hoped to play a full 82-game season in front of fans. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could make it difficult to follow through on those plans.

ESPN reports the NBA and NBPA set Oct. 30 as the deadline to finish discussions on tweaking the collective bargaining agreement for the 2020-21 season. Either side would have to give 45 days' notice if they decide to end the agreement. Oct. 30 also sits nearly eight weeks out from Christmas. Silver reportedly told the union that there should be at least eight weeks between a scheduling agreement and the start of the season.