The start date of the 2020-21 NBA regular season could still be up in the air, with the Chicago Bulls going on eight months without playing a game.
Potentially the hottest topic of debate, not just around the Chicago Bulls camp, but throughout the entire NBA landscape at this point of the likely shortened offseason is when the next regular season will start. The latest whispers surrounding the potential start date to what would be a 72-game 2020-21 regular season are set for Dec. 22.
A pre-Christmas start date is largely position for the looming NBA regular season to make up for a loss in revenue and wrap up the 2021 playoffs as soon as possible before the delayed Summer Olympics that are set to take place in Tokyo, Japan. Apparently there is a good bit of traction in the league’s office that the plan for a 72-game regular season that tips off a few days before Christmas 2020 could be in the works.
A recent report on the Twitter timeline of The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor on the afternoon of Oct. 28 reiterated that plan for the NBA. And apparently the league “held a call this afternoon with the team GM’s & presidents to detail the plan” to get this season in before the delayed 2020 Summer Olympics transpire in Japan next summer.
Another important nugget from that report shows that the NBA “intends to schedule games in a way that reduces travel by 25% with teams playing MLB style series”. That really would be a very different way to approach the looming season. Limiting travel, while still having all 30 teams play at their home arenas instead of in a bubble like the 2019-20 season wrapped up at Disney World, seems to be a priority for NBA executives.
However, it won’t be a completely clear path it seems to get a plan in place for the start of the 2020-21 regular season. According to a report from Yahoo Sources posted on the Twitter timeline of Chris Haynes on Oct. 28, there is a “substantial faction of players” pushing for the NBA season to start on Jan. 18, and for a “free-agency commencement of Dec. 1”.
That plan to start the 2020-21 season in the next calendar year would at least provide teams more time to piece together a solid free agency plan. No matter what, the NBA is going to have to rush through the 2020 offseason. They still have to get through the rest of the scouting process, the 2020 NBA Draft night, starting the next cycle of free agency, and opening up the trade market.
The Bulls had a very busy offseason so far, but haven’t played a meaningful game since mid-March, when they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers at home at the United Center way back on March 10. Since then, they’ve largely retooled the organization from the top-down, including the hiring of Arturas Karnisovas, Marc Eversley, and head coach Billy Donovan.