The NBA has indicated to GMs that next year’s schedule could be condensed to try to keep as close to the usual timeline of an 82-game season.
Atlanta Hawks GM Travis Schlenk revealed this information on a conference call on June 9.
That could mean more back-to-back sets or sets of four games in five nights, something the NBA has tried to avoid in recent years.
To limit the games played in a short period of time, the NBA increased the number of days in the regular season from 170 to 177 in the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The NBA was aiming to start the 2020-2021 season on Dec. 1, but the NBPA called that start date “unlikely.”
Usually, the league allows for a little more than two months for the playoffs.
For example, in 2019, the playoffs started on April 13 and Game 7 of the NBA Finals was scheduled for June 16 (2019 NBA Finals went six games and ended June 13).
A similar timeline for 2021 would lead to the NBA Finals potentially ending around July 31, which would overlap with the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics set to begin on July 23, 2021.
This would obviously be problematic and would likely be avoided.
Reducing the number of games in a season would help condense the league year, but the NBA hasn’t given any indication that there will be fewer than 82 games next season, as mentioned earlier.
Right now, the league is still focused on this season’s schedule as it sets to resume in Orlando on July 31 and run through Oct. 12 if there was a potential Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
Tentative NBA playoff schedule dates for each round were also announced on June 8.