Chicago Bulls: NBA considering 72-game 2020-21 regular season

NBA Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
NBA Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The next NBA regular season could be on the way for the Chicago Bulls for a targeted start date pre-Christmas, specifically on Dec. 22.

The discussion surrounding when the start date for the 2020-21 NBA regular season will be is still an ongoing conversation. And this conversation is likely to keep trucking on for the next few weeks at the very least. Teams that haven’t played a single meaningful game since mid-March, prior to the pause in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic, like the Chicago Bulls have to be listening intently to figure out when the start of the next regular season will be.

According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the NBA is looking into a pre-Christmas start date (specifically targeting Dec. 22 for the start of game action) for the 2020-21 regular season. That plan includes an altered 72 game regular season schedule, and potentially no All-Star Game or even an All-Star Weekend.

Other important points of that plan would include a potential two-week break around the midway point of the season, and a play-in tournament at some point of the schedule. This would allow the NBA regular season to finish before the delayed start date of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, are supposed to begin.

Here’s more important markers from this report from Woj and Windhorst of ESPN.

"A pre-Christmas start also allows the NBA’s television partners — ESPN and Turner — to further realize the value of broadcast partnerships.As the coronavirus continues to rage across the country, the NBA strongly prefers to stay out of a bubble format and continues discussing travel and game schedules that would keep teams in a marketplace longer and playing multiple games, similar to Major League Baseball series, sources said.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 Bulls did at least get back into team basketball activities within the last month at the Advocate Center for a mini camp that was held around the NBA for the “Delete Eight”. That was their first group basketball activities since mid-March too.

With all of this in mind, the 2020 offseason would be on a real crunch. Trades have not opened up yet, and this cycle of free agency and the 2020 NBA Draft have yet to begin either. That would mean that the start of the next regular season would come roughly just one month after the 2020 NBA Draft.

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The Bulls finished up the 2019-20 shortened regular season in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic with a record of 22-43, good for 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings. They have retooled most of the organization since the end of last season.