A shortened 2020-21 season is part of the NBA‘s plan to reduce the impact of a compacted offseason.
The league’s desire to get closer to the usual calendar, including ending next season in April with the playoffs running into mid-June, is also driving decisions around the makeup of next season.
“If you’re going from the middle of October to starting the season the first of December, if you are one of the teams in the Finals, that’s quick,” Atlanta Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said on a conference call Tuesday. “But they want to try to stay as close to the historical timing as possible. So I don’t think this is something you’ll see stick. They’ve talked to us on one of our GM calls that it might be a condensed schedule next year. More so than in the past. As you know, there’s been a big drive to avoid back-to-backs and certainly four in five nights, but we might find ourselves in a situation next year where it would be much more condensed.”
The 2019-20 season is scheduled to resume in Orlando on July 31. The Hawks are one of the eight teams who aren’t part of the restart with no chance to reach the playoffs. That means the Hawks, like other teams such as the Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls, would go from mid-March until November without formal workouts.
“Because of this circumstance, I think the league wants to stay as close to its original schedule as possible,” Schlenk said. “There’s a lot of different reasons for that — the college season, the draft and how all of that plays out. So that’s why they’ve laid out a timeline where it would be a very quick turnaround from the NBA Finals to the start of the season.”
The tentative key dates that the NBA released last week include training camp starting Nov. 10 and the first regular-season game being played Dec. 1.
Key considerations facing the league next summer include the postponed Olympic Games, scheduled for July.