The NBA's condensed 2020-21 schedule received criticism this year as a rash of injuries piled up around the Association, namely among All-Stars.
Phoenix Suns point guard and NBPA President Chris Paul spoke with reporters at NBA Finals media day regarding that topic. He mentioned how everything between the league and the players' association is a "conversation" and that "everyone has the same opportunity" to have their say. ESPN's Dave McMenamin provided the quotes.
"Man, one thing about our league and its players is everything is always a conversation. There's a ton of guys on the executive committee who are working hard on things right now, as we speak—day in and day out, traveling. I wish you guys knew all the things that are going on. So, decisions that are made as far as playing or not playing, players are always involved in it.
"Injuries are always unfortunate. You hate to have them. But just like when we went to the bubble, everything was discussed as far as the players and the full body of players. Everything that's good for this guy and that guy might not be the same for that guy, but everything has always been a conversation, and it's going to continue to be that way. So, if people don't like it, then you know everybody has the same opportunity to be a part of all these conversations."
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James notably expressed his disappointment in the condensed 2020-21 schedule, which was enacted after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the 2019-20 season by nearly five months.
LeBron James @KingJames
They all didn’t wanna listen to me about the start of the season. I knew exactly what would happen. I only wanted to protect the well being of the players which ultimately is the PRODUCT & BENEFIT of OUR GAME! These injuries isn’t just “PART OF THE GAME”. It’s the lack of PURE
The 2019-20 season was paused on March 11, 2020 and started again on July 30. It ended on October 11, when the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
Two months and 11 days later, the 2020-21 NBA regular season began. The NBA held a 72-game regular season that lasted from Dec. 22, 2020 through May 16, 2021.
Should it be necessary, Game 7 of the 2021 NBA Finals is scheduled for July 22, with the Summer Olympics' opening ceremony set for the next day.
Injuries were prominent during the regular season, but this postseason has featured a rash of injuries to star players who have been forced to miss time. That list includes Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young, Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, Brooklyn Nets guards James Harden and Kyrie Irving and Lakers big man Anthony Davis.
Antetokounmpo's status is notably unclear as he continues to work his way back from a hyperextended left knee in hopes of playing in the NBA Finals, which are set to take place between his Bucks and Paul's Suns.
Phoenix will host Game 1 on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.