Report: NBA Targeting Late-December Start for 2020-2021 Season

Garrett Chorpenning

The NBA might end up being back well before many of us anticipated.

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the NBA reportedly informed the league's Board of Governors that it is targeting a Dec. 22 start date for the 2020-2021 season — leaving just enough time for Christmas Day basketball to be a real possibility.

That isn't the only significant bit of information here, though. The league is also looking to play a 72-game season (rather than the standard 82) to better fit the time constraints due to the late end of the 2019-2020 season. Additionally, this plan would allow the season to come to a close in time for the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

The start date would not go into effect unless the National Basketball Players Association signs off on the plan.

So what exactly does this mean for the fans?

Not only could at-home viewers see their favorite teams take the floor relatively soon, but those wanting to see games in person could be in luck as well. 

The NBA reportedly prefers to play in-market games rather than create another bubble scenario, and could look to reduce travel and alter protocols to decrease the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Ultimately, this feels like the best way for the NBA to ensure that it can have fans return in full for the 2021-2022 season and have it be as standard a campaign as possible. Obviously, there are a lot of outside factors that could change those plans, but the league appears to be playing the long game here. 

More details will surely surface in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned for the latest happenings around the league.