With the preseason in full swing, we are mere days away from the beginning of the 2020-21 NBA season. Rosters are nearly completed as both the NBA Draft and free agency were conducted in November, and now, teams only need to trim down to their final 15 players. Once that is done in the coming days, the season will be ready to begin.
Training camps opened Dec. 1 with individual works, and rather than holding a traditional media day, teams held a media week from Dec. 1-5. Group workouts will began on Dec. 6. The first half of the regular-season schedule has been released, but the league is going to release the schedule in portions in order to leave room for make-up games if necessary due to the pandemic.
Furthermore, the league and the NBPA also hashed out some important financial concerns for the upcoming season. The salary cap will be $109.1 million and the luxury tax $132.6 million, both the same as last season. As for the escrow -- the amount of money withheld from the players in case the league doesn't meet revenue projections -- it will remain at the standard 10 percent to start the season. If there's any need to increase that percentage, it will be spread out over multiple seasons, with the number never rising above 20 percent in one season, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. This is a win for the players, considering that earlier in the offseason agents had reportedly been bracing for the possibility of a 40 percent escrow.
Concerned about such a quick turnaround from last season, players were initially hesitant about starting the season prior to Christmas, and had been pushing for a Jan. 18 start on Martin Luther King Day. Eventually, however, the financial incentives for starting the season early proved too enticing, and they accepted the league's proposal.
The league also opted to postpone the 2021 All-Star Game due to health concerns due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Indianapolis, which was set to host the event, will get its opportunity in 2024.
Below is the schedule of the events leading up to the 2020-21 campaign.
Upcoming NBA schedule
- Nov. 20: Start of free agency
- Dec. 1: Individual workouts at training camp begin
- Dec. 1-5: Media week
- Dec. 6: Group workouts begin
- Dec. 11-19: Preseason games begin
- Dec. 22: Opening night for 2020-21 season
- March 25: Trade deadline
With the path cleared for the season to start on Dec. 22, the league is focusing on its short-term future to get through this pandemic while playing games in each team's home market rather than in a bubble environment.