NBA to have shortest off-season ever


Mason Smith, Sports Editor

MONTGOMERY, Ala.- The NBA recently completed its 2019-2020 season in Orlando and many view it as the biggest success of the major American sports. While it is great to see the league succeed in the middle of a pandemic, it now faces the challenge of next season.

In a traditional setting, the NBA offseason lasts from the end of June until around Halloween. In between that time, the Association gives us the summer league for young players, the NBA Draft, and free agency among other items. Usually, there is a significant time in between each event, but this year, the offseason will only last 72 days, making it the shortest offseason in the history of all major sports.

The biggest concerns for the NBA moving forward are the health of teams who had deep playoff runs and, as a result, have shorter recovery times than others, and how to conduct business during the pandemic. The public has seen one aspect of the offseason by watching the virtual NBA Draft. It was still enjoyable, but it doesn’t compare to the excitement the event generates while being in person.

Unlike the bubble fans witnessed to end the season, the league plans to have games in home arenas and include travel. The NBA has proven they are on point with COVID protocols, but even with the best policies in place, the constant moving will inevitably lead to players, staff, and officials testing positive; something the NBA didn’t have to endure previously. Attendance will also be limited per CDC guidelines and the NBA was already preparing for a significant decrease in revenue because of it.

That and there being no All-Star game will hurt the league’s pockets and its viewership. The latter is why the push for a start around Christmas was strong, because just like the NFL has Thanksgiving football, basketball has Christmas.

With free agency underway and training camp set to open in less than two weeks, the offseason will have a lot going on leading up to Dec. 22. The league already did the impossible with the bubble, now they’ll have to do it again with the 2020-2021 season. Updates will come as the 72-game season progresses.