Los Angeles Lakers forward Jared Dudley said NBA commissioner Adam Silver explained the delayed finish to the 2019-20 season could crown a champion in early October, and there's hope a later start to next season could allow fans in attendance.
Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reported the new campaign may not start until January 2021:
The NBA Board of Governors discussed four return-to-play alternatives during a conference call Friday, ranging from going directly to a standard playoffs (16 teams) to a shortened finish of the regular season with all 30 teams involved, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic:
Shams Charania @ShamsCharania
Sources: The NBA discussed four competition scenarios for restart with Board of Governors today: - 16 teams: Directly to playoffs - 20: Group/stage play - 22: Games to determine seeding, play-in tournament for final seed(s) - 30: 72-game regular season, with play-in tourney
No final decision was made, but Silver said on the call the league is targeting July 31 for play to resume, according to Charania.
The NBA halted play March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard told ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz the players' return to the training facility earlier this month was a "breath of fresh air," but now the focus has shifted to getting clarity on what to expect.
"The excitement is gone and now it's, 'What going on?'" he said Thursday.
Lillard previously told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes he wasn't planning to play if the NBA's final plan doesn't give the Blazers a chance to compete in the playoffs. They're currently ninth in the West.
"If they come back and say it's something like a tournament, play-in style, between the No. 7 and No. 12 seeds, if we're playing for playoff spots, then I think that's perfect," he said Tuesday.
The Golden State Warriors were the only team mathematically eliminated from postseason contention when play was stopped.