Speaking with Bob Costas on CNN (h/t Mirjam Swanson of the Southern California News Group), Silver said Tuesday his "best guess" is the season won't start until some point in 2021.
"The more I'm learning, I continue to believe we'll be better getting into January," he said. "The goal for us next season is to play a standard season, 82-game season and playoffs. In home arenas, in front of fans."
When the NBA Board of Governors and National Basketball Players Association voted to resume this season in June, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the league gave teams a "working timeline" that included opening training camps for next season Nov. 10 and opening night Dec. 1.
Silver told ESPN's Rachel Nichols (h/t NBC Washington's Ryan Homler) during the NBA draft lottery show Aug. 20 that Dec. 1 "is feeling a little bit early to me."
"Our No. 1 goal is to get fans back in our arenas," he said. "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 current season resumed July 31 with 22 teams playing at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The playoffs began Aug. 17, and the NBA Finals would run through Oct. 12 if they last seven games.
Assuming the NBA doesn't begin play until at least January, next season will mark the first time since the lockout-shortened 1999 campaign that there are no games on Christmas Day.