NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the goal is to play a standard 82-game schedule with fans next season, but that means overlapping with the Tokyo Olympics.
If the NBA season started in January 2021, which is Silver’s best guess, it would complicate the NBA’s ability to send players and coaches to the Olympics that are set to run from July 23 to Aug. 8.
A non-condensed NBA schedule would mean that the Olympics would start while the NBA playoffs would be happening.
“There are a lot of great U.S. players, and we may be up against a scenario where the top 15 NBA players aren’t competing in the Olympics, but other great American players are competing,” Silver told Bob Costas on CNN. “Obviously, there are many NBA players who participate in the Olympics from other countries. That’s something we’re going to have to work through. I just say, lastly, these are highly unique and unusual circumstances. I think, just as it is for the Olympic movement, it is for us as well. We’re just going to have to sort of find a way to meld and mesh those two competing considerations.”
The NBA has sent players to participate in every Olympics since the 1992 Barcelona Games, when the United States Dream Team was put together.
Before NBA players were allowed to compete in Olympic Games, the U.S. men’s basketball team was made up of college players.
“It is a factor in our planning,” Silver said regarding the Olympics. “It would be tough for us to make a decision in January based on the Olympics happening on schedule when that’s so unclear.”
There is still a lot to be decided in the next few months and it centers around the logistics of scheduling.