The 2019-20 NBA season is set to resume Friday, July 31 following a nearly four-month suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign may last as late as October 12, which is when Game 7 of the NBA Finals is tentatively scheduled.
That calls into question the start of the 2020-21 season, and there appears to be disagreement between the NBA and NBPA on that front.
Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA is looking toward a tentative start date of Dec. 1 with a Nov. 10 training camp date, but Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic reported that the NBPA told its players on a call a Dec. 1 start is "unlikely" and would be negotiated.
Regarding the proposed 2020-21 NBA timeline, NBPA director Michele Roberts told Wojnarowski that she "was surprised to see it."
That date would provide hope that the 2020-21 season ends in the early summer, giving the league enough time to get back on its regular schedule track for 2021-22.
However, it's likely not enough time for players to recover in between seasons, especially with the NBA Finals participants having less than one month of down time between Game 7 (if necessary) and the start of training camp.
The NBPA would have to approve such calendar year changes, per Wojnarowski, so a shutdown there on the players' union end would lead to the league heading back to the drawing board.
Wojnarowski did write that the proposed start date would have no effect on the eight teams who were not invited to conclude the remainder of the NBA season at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex.
Furthermore, the bulk of the 22 teams headed to Florida would see their seasons end by early-to-mid September per the timeline, giving those franchises more breathing room between campaigns.
Wojnarowski provided more details as to why an earlier start would be beneficial to the league.
"Starting the season in early December would allow many NBA players to participate in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and would avoid the back end of the NBA playoffs, draft and free agency fighting for attention with the start of the 2021 NFL season," he wrote.
Still, a Dec. 1 start seems unlikely given the NBPA's initial pushback plus the small window between years for teams making deep postseason runs.