Back so Soon? Or Just in Time?
The NBA has laid the blueprint for major sports and how to handle the
pandemic. With the Bubble season ending in early October, many thought the season wouldn’t return until the new year but the league thinks players can handle coming back sooner.
On November 6th, The NBPA and the NBA players union decided on
restarting the season on December 22, becoming the shortest offseason in the history of major sports (NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB). Training camp will begin less than a month away on December 1st.The training camp will last 21 days, the same duration of training camp for the past four seasons. The season will have a 72 game regular season, 10 games shorter than the regular season which is 82 games.
A typical season would have players start returning to team practice
facilities after Labor Day to work out about a month before training camp which last a month. In a late October memo memo, the NBA informed teams that they’re allowed to open their facilities for offseason group practices and scrimmages of up to 10 players. The players will undergo daily COVID testing.
According to ESPN league officials are worried about travel. “I’d be more worried about the travel because we saw in the bubble, not having travel really helped guys recover.” said one intimately involved with player health”So I don’t know if it's actually the amount of games but it's just the fact that you’re getting to 2am in the morning and you’re traveling now--that becomes a bigger issue.”
They also expressed their concern about players who have not played
since the pandemic outbreak in March. Eight teams did not participate in Bubble play, Chicago, Atlanta, Golden State, New York, Minnesota
Clevand and Charlotte.
Many players have expressed their concern about the quick turnaround for the upcoming season especially those that played in the Bubble. Players in the Bubble noted that playing in Orlando weighed on them not only physically but mentally. There has been talk that teams from the Bubble will sit their star players for about a month including NBA champions Los Angeles Lakers and runner ups Miami Heat. But that may change depending on how the NBA handles the roster for Christmas Day. LeBron James expressed his disappointment about the season starting so soon. Load mangning players has been mentioned as an option for other teams that made deep strides in the playoffs. An aspect that could complicate this are the NBA guidelines on how teams can rest players depending on whether the game is Nationally televised or not.
Free agency negotiations will begin at 6pm ET on November 20 and
signings will begin at 12:01pm ET on November 22.
There has been no word yet if there will be fans in attendance or not.