It’s been over seven months since the Warriors played their last game of the 2019-20 season, and after patiently waiting for the NBA Playoffs that ended just two weeks ago, they should prepare for a offseason sprint.
During a call with the league’s board of governors last week, NBA decision-makers discussed the possibility of starting a 72-game season, 2020-21 on December 22, the Warriors majority owner confirmed, Joe Lacob, with the Bay Area News Group.
Moving that quickly to start next season would force an abbreviated offseason, with free agency and training camp starting shortly after the November 18 draft.
Such a move – which is expected to be approved by the National Basketball Players Association – would help the league return to its normal schedule, with a champion crowned in June and a summer season.
Starting in December and removing 10 games from the schedule, the NBA could also end its season before the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled for July 2021.
The opening of the season in December would involve compromises. As the coronavirus continues to rage across the country, the NBA should at least temporarily abandon Commissioner Adam Silver’s previously stated goal of playing a full 82-game schedule with fans in arenas.
Starting the season this year would force teams to sacrifice revenue associated with having fans in the stands, such as ticket, merchandise and concession sales. Due to the cancellation of seven home games, the Warriors lost about $ 50 million when the season was closed on March 11, according to Lacob. The state’s recent decision to allow fans in outdoor stadiums does not apply to the Chase Center.
The league has reportedly lost $ 1.5 billion less than its original revenue forecast for last season, but an early December that included the league’s iconic Christmas Day showcase could help create $ 500 million of income, according to ESPN. This influx of income and maintaining the league’s schedule might be enough to motivate the league and its players to resume the season earlier than expected.
Of the eight NBA teams that haven’t resumed the season in the Disney World bubble, the Warriors may embrace basketball sooner rather than later. It’s been 230 days since Golden State’s last game, compared to just over two weeks for the Lakers’ NBA champions. Due to the long layoff, the Warriors’ coaches and players are concerned about the lack of chemistry the team might have when they take the court.
If the league hits on a normal preseason, teams that have participated in the bubble are more likely to have an advantage to start the season. For example, the Warriors could spend the first two weeks sorting out lineups and building continuity, while the Lakers would be fresh out of playing championship-level basketball. Any stumbling block to start the season would be exacerbated by having 10 fewer games.
However, teams like the Lakers could see their offseason – usually recovery time – cut in half, from four to two months. So it is possible that the contenders who played in September and October are tired of the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Warriors will see their free time doubled and could be fresh when the regular season ends in April.
This disparity of rest would never have been greater. Stephen Curry’s last game was on March 5, while LeBron James last played on October 11. If Klay Thompson plays on opening night, it would mark 558 days since his last game after tearing up his ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals.
Of course, as they aim to go from a worst league record of 15-50 in the playoffs, the Warriors will have to scramble to improve their roster in what is a pivotal offseason. The start of training camp in early December would reduce their time to make decisions about the No. 2 pick in the draft, the $ 17.2 million trade exception, the mid-level exception and the last spots on the draft. list in a two week window.
The league is fighting to finalize plans for next season, which will surely have a lot more ripple effects. Luckily for the Warriors, they’ve had over seven months to prepare for these decisions.