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Adam Silver says “best guess” is next NBA season starts no earlier than January

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Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Two Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images

The last update we had regarding the potential start date for the 2020-21 NBA season is that it would be delayed until Christmas at the earliest. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has now given an interview on CNN with Bob Costas, providing some updates on the league’s plans for next year.

Costas asked Silver for his best guess for when the next NBA season will begin, and whether there will be any format changes in terms of the season’s length and playoff structure.

“My best guess is that even though, as you said, it will be the 2021 season, that that season won’t start until 2021,” Silver explained. “We said a week or so ago that the earliest we would start is Christmas of this year, but the more I’m learning — even listening to Dr [Anthony] Fauci this morning — I continue to believe that we’re going to be better off getting into January.

“The goal for us next season is to play a standard season, to your other part of your question, an 82-game season and playoffs. The goal would be to play games in home arenas in front of fans, but there’s still a lot that we need to learn in terms of rapid testing, for example. Would that be a means of getting fans into our buildings? Will there be other protections?”

Silver emphasized that the NBA is going to continue looking into all the information they can about how sports can continue moving forward, and see what other leagues and colleges are doing to return.

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix has mentioned that one possible start date for next season could be Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 18.

It’s difficult for the NBA to project forward during such unprecedented times as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, especially as the league is pursuing significant changes with the goals of bringing fans back and leaving a bubble format. Maybe those goals won’t be attainable, but a further delayed season could be a possibility if it means the NBA can find some kind of normality for the start of the season.

You can watch Silver’s full interview, ranging from how the NBA has dealt with social justice issues in the bubble to considering the league’s scheduling for next year around the Tokyo Olympics, below.