After the board of governors had a conference call today, the NBA is officially set to return. The dates have been finalized for the resumption of the 2019-20 season and through 2021. Shams Charania has the details:
Buckle up, folks. After three months without basketball, we'll now receive an absolute onslaught of it. Between July 31 and whenever the 2021 NBA Finals wrap up, there will be only a month and a half of offseason. If the 2021 season ends as the NBA season normally does, that means we're looking at approximately nine and a half months of basketball in a 12-month period. There's nothing to celebrate about why this had to happen, but we can take some solace in the fact that sports will be back and won't leave for a while.
The biggest part of this new schedule that stands out is that same lack of offseason, but for a different reason. If the NBA Finals goes to seven games, the season will conclude on October 12. Training camp will begin on Nov. 10. That gives both the championship squad and the losing Finals team less than a month to recuperate from a playoff run that will span nearly two and a half months. The dates remain fluid, as Charania notes, but it seems like the two Finals teams will get a month at most for recovery.
That could prove to be problematic. Even in a scenario where training camp is pushed back two weeks and the Finals end in the first week of October after a four-game sweep, that's still less than half of the amount of time usually allocated for resting after the grind of a playoff push. There's not a lot that can be done to change that reality unless the NBA wanted to permanently shift their schedule, but it will be a matter of concern next season. We may see star players go down with injuries early in 2021, or (more likely) the amount of load management designations skyrockets.
Basketball is back, but there's no such thing as a perfect solution in these times. Concessions were made. We'll see how those concessions impact this season, next season, and beyond.