The groundwork is currently being laid for the 2020-21 NBA season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the 2019-20 campaign's four-and-a-half month suspension and mid-October finish.
That season will look different, however, with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst providing details:
"Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is proposing several changes to next season that include a 72-game regular season, a play-in tournament and the likelihood of no All-Star Game or All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, sources said. The league is considering a two-week break at the midway point of the season, sources said."
The two-week break and All-Star Game elimination would theoretically help players stay as rested as feasibly possible in a 72-game sprint before the league aims for a return to normalcy for the 2021-22 season.
The idea behind the shortened NBA season is to allow for the league's best to participate in the 2021 Summer Olympics, which are scheduled for next July and August.
However, that would mean a far more condensed schedule with a potential pre-Christmas start, which the league is discussing, per Wojnarowski and Windhorst. Concessions being thrown around include re-working travel so that road teams can be in one market longer and play multiple games against opponents in that market.
For example, a team visiting New York can stay in town to knock out multiple games against the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks as opposed to playing just one before leaving for another city.
Details are still being ironed out and reported, but Oct. 30 appears to be the cutoff date to make decisions, per Wojnarowski and Windhorst:
"Oct. 30 is setting up to be a key date. The NBA and NBPA agreed that day would be the deadline to complete ongoing discussions on modifications to the collective bargaining agreement for the 2020-21 season, a deadline date that requires the league or union to provide 45 days notice if either decides to terminate the CBA—a scenario that sources continue to believe is a remote possibility."
Regardless of the final details, one which seems certain as of now is that fans won't be allowed back into arenas en masse, at least for the beginning of the season.
According to Wojnarowski and Windhorst, "two-thirds of the league's local jurisdictions aren't currently allowing for public gatherings of more than 500 people, and ominous public health projections for the trajectory of the virus' spread have limited the league's hope of safely returning fans to arenas in the next few months, sources said."
The NBA recently completed its 2019-20 season in a bubble-like format on the Walt Disney World Resort campus near Orlando, Florida. Limited family and friends were allowed during the playoffs, but games were otherwise held with zero attendance as the league completed its season and named a champion.