Later start preferred by NBA players could result in 50 games

Pacers point guard Malcolm Brogdon drives to the basket vs. the Jazz.

All we know right now is the NBA intends to conduct a 2020-21 season. When that season begins or how many games are played remains very much up in the air.

Multiple reports suggest the league is aiming to tip off on Dec. 22. Players union executive director Michele Roberts and Indiana Pacers point guard Malcolm Brogdon are among those to have confirmed that date in recent interviews.

But the players want to wait. Per reports, their preference is to begin Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 18). Theoretically, this would allow everyone more time for any needed negotiating, free agency and just general time to regroup.

Whenever the league starts will have a direct impact on revenue.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, a Dec. 22 tipoff will result in a 72-game schedule, followed by the playoffs. But a start in January will shorten the schedule to just 50 games, Stein reported.

The latter would affect the players’ pocketbooks, as 50 games “would reduce player salaries significantly since NBA pay adheres to a regular-season schedule,” Stein added.

On the other hand, a 72-game season would involve about 14 games a month for each team through May, with the season wrapping up in time for the Tokyo Olympic in July, per Stein.

With the time drawing near, Stein added, an agreement on next season’s schedule is expected to come as soon as next week.

About the Author

Sam Amico
Sam Amico is the founder and senior writer of Amico Hoops. He has covered the NBA on a full-time basis for both Sports Illustrated and FOX Sports, and has been a regular contributor to CBS Sports, the Boston Herald and

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