NBPA's Michele Roberts doesn't know if 2020-21 season will start in December

Farbod Esnaashari

NBA owners want the season to start before Christmas, but the NBPA isn't fully on board with the idea yet. 

The National Basketball Players Association's executive director, Michele Roberts, spoke with Mark Medina of USA Today about the 2021 NBA season. 

"I don’t know what I think yet," Roberts said. "We are in the throes of discussing it and in the throes of evaluating what it means in terms of the revenue-related issues that have been raised. Frankly, we’re also spending some time trying to get information on what this means in respect to player health."

It seems pretty clear that the idea of starting the season is more about revenue than it is about player health. At the same time, the NBA reportedly fell short of $1.5 billion in revenue last season due to both COVID-19, and their China controversy. On one end, the health of the players matters, on the other end, the NBA needs the money.

The situation presents a very delicate dynamic for the league: the season ended October 11th, eight teams haven't played in nearly eight months, and everyone is on a different playing field. If anything, the 2020-21 season will be harder to figure out than the bubble season.

"The only thing that brings all of those different experiences the players had together is to have sufficient notice on when camp can open," Roberts said. "There are guys that haven’t played since the suspension of play in March and they may have a different attitude or not. Frankly, I’ve spoken to players that did stop playing at or about that time, and they’re banging down the doors to get back to the practice facility."

The NBA owners want to start the season in December, but it doesn't quite seem like all the pieces are together yet. There's an end goal, but that's about it.