Los Angeles returns home from the NBA bubble near Orlando with the franchise's
17th championship but only questions and uncertainty are left for the league's
other 29 teams.
Following a four-month layoff without games or full practices, the NBA
completed the postseason and wrapped up a season that began a year earlier on
Sunday night with Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Commissioner Adam Silver readily admits he has no worldly idea when the next
NBA game will take place.
First thoughts were late November or Christmas Day, but Silver said last month
in an interview with CNN the likelihood of a regular season starting before
January 2021 was highly unlikely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Nothing has really changed in this virus, as far as I know," Silver said. "In
fact, I think in the majority of states right now, cases are ticking back up
again. There's predictions of a combination of flu and coronavirus season.
People are moving back indoors. In some cases, people have COVID fatigue and
aren't following the same protocols. In many ways we're looking at a lot of
the same factors we looked at determining what to do this season."
Billions in revenue were lost by the NBA and details remain to be sorted out
this offseason, including the start of free agency and the amount teams might
have available to spend under the revamped salary cap.
"Everything -- everything -- we're doing exists outside the current collective
bargaining agreement," Silver said.
NBPA executive director Michele Roberts has called on both sides to "resist
temptations" to be greedy and settle on a solution, for at least next season,
that helps both sides. The NBA had profits of $8 billion prior to the
coronavirus pandemic. Not knowing which variables might be resolved -- such as
in-person attendance -- bring doubt as to how quickly the two sides can settle
on a structure for the coming months.
The salary cap was $109 million for the just-completed season, and projections
include lowering the cap for one season by as much as $30 million per team.
A solution to hold the cap at the same number for one year has player and
To get there, more questions need to be answered, especially for the upcoming
free agency class and incoming draft class. The 2020 NBA Draft is scheduled
for Nov. 18.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have the No. 1 overall pick, followed by the Golden
State Warriors, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta
Hawks, Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks.
Typically, free agency begins one week after the draft.
Some of the top players potentially available in free agency this offseason
hold player options with their current teams. That includes Lakers All-Star
Anthony Davis, Celtics forward Gordon Hayward, Cavaliers forward Andre
Dummond, Blazers center Hassan Whiteside and Bulls forward Otto Porter Jr.
Roberts said her feel is that the 2021 NBA season will begin in late January
or February, giving players who advanced into the playoffs more time to
recover physically and mentally.
Several league officials have said the goal is to play 82 regular-season games
in home markets with fans present. But that decision might not be the NBA's to
Silver said last week that the NBA would consider another bubble or campus
environment after what was widely hailed as a health success from a COVID-19
--Field Level Media