With the primary goal of playing in front of fans next season, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the proposed Dec. 1 start date for the 2020-21 campaign "is feeling a little bit early."
The league has not reported a single positive coronavirus case since personnel arrived inside the playoff bubble in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. But the goal is to play next year out of a bubble environment, Silver said in an interview Thursday with ESPN's Rachel Nichols prior to the league's draft lottery.
"I'd say Dec. 1, now that we're working through this season, is feeling a little bit early to me," he said. "I think our No. 1 goal is to get fans back in our arenas. … My sense is, in working with the players' association, if we could push back even a little longer and increase the likelihood of having fans in arenas, that's what we would be targeting."
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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver attends an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers at AdventHealth Arena. (Photo: Ashley Landis, USA TODAY Sports)
Silver has said that around 40% of basketball-related revenue is generated from fans going to games.
Playing in front of fans for the entire season may be a lofty goal, but Silver said improvements on the vaccine, testing and antiviral treatment fronts are cause for optimism.
Game 1 of the Finals will be on Sept. 30 this year, meaning the season will wrap by mid-October. The NBA draft is scheduled for Oct. 16, and the players' union is preparing for free agency to start on Oct. 18, per an ESPN report, though it could be pushed back.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.
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