USA Basketball is weighing alternative roster options in the event of a potential conflict between the delayed Tokyo Olympics and the NBA season.
If the postponed Games are moved from a July 2020 start to March or April of 2021, NBA players would not be eligible to participate. The NBA regular season typically ends in mid-April, when the playoffs begin.
There is no set timetable for the Olympics after the International Olympic Committee announced this week the games would start as scheduled on July 24 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo, who is committed to the organization through 2021 along with head coach Gregg Popovich, said there is no action to be taken until a date for the Olympics is known.
“We will follow the leader. We have to wait to see how everything is laid out and we’ll make the adjustment,” Colangelo said. “Our players are NBA players first, let’s face that.”
If the Olympics move back a calendar year to July 2021, many NBA players would be available. If the events are held in March or April, the availability of amateurs — college basketball players — would be on a case-by-case scenario. The Final Four and national championship games are scheduled for April 3 and 5 in Indianapolis.
Commissioner Adam Silver said the 2020-21 NBA schedule still could be adjusted radically depending on how the current season, on hiatus since March 12, wraps up. Silver said teams have been asked to confirm availability of their home arenas through August. If the current season ends in August, next season might not begin until winter instead of the typical October tipoff.
“Changing the window for the NBA is easier said than done. There’s a lot of logistics and contracts to deal with,” Colangelo said. “Same for the Olympics. You have to assume it will be around the same dates.”
—Field Level Media