Just a few days ago, word broke that the league was targeting Dec. 22 as a start date for the 2020-21 NBA season. In order to make that work, owners were preparing for free agency to start just a few days after the draft, so that teams would be able to get their rosters in order before training camp. Thoughts of Golden State Warriors basketball on Christmas started to dance in our heads.
But now there’s some pushback from the most important members of the equation: the players. According to Yahoo’s Chris Haynes, some of the league’s stars are pushing for a start date on Jan. 18, which is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. That would tentatively put the beginning of free agency at Dec. 1, which is the day that training camps would likely open if the season started on Dec. 22.
Yahoo Sources: Substantial faction of players and star players pushing for NBA season to start Jan. 18 — MLK Day — with a free-agency commencement of Dec. 1.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) October 28, 2020
This comes just a few days after Danny Green, fresh off a championship win with the Los Angeles Lakers, said on The Ringer NBA Podcast that if the season started in December, he “wouldn’t expect to see [LeBron James] probably for the first month of the season.”
Lakers guard Danny Green on the proposed Dec. 22 start to next season:— Logan Murdock (@loganmmurdock) October 26, 2020
"If we start in December, I think most guys [are like] 'I'm not going to be there... to have that quick of a restart, I wouldn't expect [LeBron] to be there for the 1st month of the season." pic.twitter.com/NYqNxzNEmZ
Indeed, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported that James is one of the many stars around the league that are against starting the season so soon. If training camp did get underway on Dec. 1, it would give the Lakers and Miami Heat players just 51 days from their final game to the start of camp. It’s easy to see why that’s not viewed as enough, especially for a veteran who has played deep into the postseason as many times as James had.