The COVID-19 pandemic upended the 2019-20 NBA season and drastically altered its calendar, so it should come as no surprise that major offseason dates are reportedly still not set in stone.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the NBA and its players association agreed to push back a number of notable dates in the foreseeable future such as the Oct. 16 draft, Oct. 18 start of free agency and the start of the 2020-21 season.
The new dates are yet to be determined, but Charania provided more details:
Under normal circumstances, the NBA Finals end in June, the draft happens later that month and free agency begins in the first week of July.
Such a schedule allows the NBA to remain relevant well into the summer with free-agency rumors and superstars changing teams and driving headlines. The regular season then typically begins in late October.
Obviously, that was not possible this year given everything that unfolded.
The NBA suspended its season on March 11 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and it resumed play in a bubble-like environment at Walt Disney World Resort in late July. The playoffs remain ongoing and are in the second round, and the Finals will last into October.
Pushing back key dates of the offseason could give teams that advance deep into the playoffs a proper amount of time to evaluate their rosters and shift into offseason mode.
There is also the reality that the lack of fans at arenas, potentially into next season, could have major financial ramifications for the league and impact free-agency spending.
Delaying the key dates will give teams more time to adjust as the new normal continues.