The latest we'll have to wait for an NBA champion is October 13th. That's when an unlikely Game 7 would happen, and everyone leaves the bubble. Looking back on everything that had to go right for us to reach the NBA Finals, the Orlando bubble has been a tremendous success. But, what then?
The only thing we know is that the Draft will happen on November 18th. The league still has to determine the cap for 20/21, which will probably artificially stay around the same level as this year's cap number - $109 million. But then the most difficult question arises - when will the '20/'21 NBA season start?
At first, Adam Silver and the NBA set a tentative beginning of December date. Then it was moved to closer around Christmas. Last night, Silver talked to Rachel Nichols and pointed out that it primarily depends on testing possibilities and how the epidemic will develop. When it comes to the start, here's how the Commissioner is thinking.
I've said previously that the earliest we'd start is Christmas. Maybe more likely we'll be in January.
Adam Silver, NBA Countdown
The first date was set to make it possible for NBA players to participate in the Olympics (if they happen). That's been moved off the table. Silver even said the league would not pause to enable players to participate in Tokyo in an earlier statement. The idea here is simple - maximally delaying the start of the season maximizes the possibility of having fans in arenas as much as possible. Simmons and Rusillo recently mentioned they are hearing Mach is the most likely outcome.
As much as TV money is important, we found out that arena revenue is around 40% of the NBA's income. It's all about the Benjamins, baby. Speaking of TV revenue, ratings have been down this year throughout the bubble, and in the Finals. Dragić and Adebayo's injuries had something to do with that for sure, but it seems the NBA decided to tone down the political messages during games. Silver pointed out the NBA is committed to standing for social justice, but we won't be seeing "Black Lives Matter" on the courts anymore.
“I would say, in terms of messaging you see on our court, on your jerseys; this was an extraordinary moment in time when we began the discussions with the players and what we've all lived through this summer. My sense is there'll be somewhat of a return to normalcy. That those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor. I understand those people who are saying 'I'm on your side, but I want to watch a basketball game.'”
Adam Silver, NBA Countdown
We are about to have a fascinating offseason - this will be uncharted territory. The players and the owners will have to agree on a cap number, how the financial hit will be distributed, and it seems the social justice fight will have to stay off the court. All that on top of the draft, trading, and signing free agents.