The current NBA season has been significantly reduced due to the COVID-19 crisis and according to at least one GM, the 2020-21 season could be shortened as well.
ESPN's Tom Bontemps tweeted, "Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said on a conference call with reporters this morning that the NBA has indicated to the league's GMs that next year's schedule could be condensed in order to try to keep the league as close to its usual timeline as possible."
Currently, the NBA is planning to start the season on Dec. 1 and the league would like to have an 82-game schedule. However, that timeline may prove difficult to achieve, as the Athletic's Shams Charania reported that the National Basketball Players Association told players that the set starting date is "unrealistic."
Schlenk said that could mean more back-to-backs and sets of four games in five nights for teams next season -- things the NBA has actively tried to move away from in recent years. https://t.co/xjJ9dQFcla— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) June 9, 2020
With the NBA playoffs slated to end in October, that would mean the offseason would potentially be shorter than a month, as training camp would be slated to begin on Nov. 11.
It's not exactly surprising that an 82-game season may not be possible. Even if the season started in December, it would mean that the season would not end until August or September. In order to shorten the schedule without reducing games, Schlenk said "that could mean more back-to-backs and sets of four games in five nights for teams next season."
Playing back-to-backs and four-in-fives are both the types of things that players have pushed back against in recent years and it's hard to imagine that changing, unless there was significant financial motivation involved.
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