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Silver unsure Dec. 1 start date is realistic

Commissioner Adam Silver warned on Thursday night that the NBA’s scheduled Dec. 1 start date for the 2020-21 season is likely to be moved back.

FILE PHOTO: The NBA logo is displayed as people pass by the NBA Store in New York City, U.S., October 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

“I’d say Dec. 1, now that we’re working through this season, is feeling a little bit early to me,” Silver said before the NBA draft lottery on Thursday.

“I think our No. 1 goal is to get fans back in our arenas. ... So my sense is, in working with the players’ association, if we could push back even a little longer and increase the likelihood of having fans in arenas, that’s what we would be targeting.”

The free agent window is tentatively scheduled to open Oct. 18, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that uncertainty about how the coronavirus pandemic will affect league revenue -- and, in turn, the 2020-21 salary cap -- could lead to a delay. He added that many teams also want to delay the draft, currently set for Oct. 16.

Any additional time could allow for more accurate information on the financial implications of the pandemic, informing offseason plans for every team. The salary cap could be artificially inflated or smoothed to avoid any drastic decrease caused by the drop in revenue.

Per Wojnarowski, the union is also telling players that the 2020-21 season could start as late as January or February, rather than the scheduled start of Dec. 1.

NBPA executive director Michelle Roberts has previously said she was not sure the new season could start by December.

Any changes would have to be collectively bargained between the NBA and NBPA, who previously delayed a deadline for the league to end the CBA via a force majeure provision. That deadline is now Sept. 10, although Wojnarowski reported it could be pushed back again until after the playoffs end.

The league is midway through the first round of the playoffs at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando, Fla. The NBA Finals are scheduled to start Sept. 30.

--Field Level Media

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