Sport Speculation: Playing it smart

Reasons why the NBA starting up in December is both a good and bad idea

An exotic year has taken the NBA by storm, the league plans to restart the season as soon as Christmas day. As the 2019-2020 season ended on Oct.11 with the Lakers winning the series, many fans and players were excited to see what was going to happen next season.  

They got that answer on Thursday, Oct. 5 when the NBA revealed plans to begin the season on Dec. 22. Producing a 73 game season where teams will be once again competing from their home arenas 

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard went on Twitter saying that he was in favor of a December restart “if that gets my summer off-season back.” 

While the community would love to see the NBA jump back in action there are some reasons why it should be pushed back further. 

Earlier this year, the NBA made the decision to finish the rest of the season in Orlando in the bubble due to the pandemic. Around the time of the NBA restart, the summer league was shining with new prospects, players were spending time with their families or the infamous banana boat crew took their typical vacation after a long season. 

Eight of the NBA’s 30 teams haven’t played since March 11, and what this means is that 22 teams have been idle since the first round of the playoffs around Sept. 2. 

While this is ideal of having teams, who need to compete for a championship ring, this leaves teams heading towards next season away from the court and not being able to have a regular practice like other teams. 

This gives them very little time to be able to prepare for Christmas. It also can be said about teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat who had to compete for every other game leading to the finals. This gives teams no options heading towards Christmas. 

On top of these other problems, one of the biggest setbacks the NBA must face is financial issues. As the bubble was one way for fans and players to stay safe during the time, it was also a way to keep money and the season flowing. 

A report from Forbes shows that the league fell an estimated $1.5 billion short of its projected revenue for 2019-20. Losing its partnership with China, the cancellation of 171 regular-season games and due to the outbreak a big sum of ticket sales from regular season had a critical impact on their revenue. 

The shortfall of this would have been an estimated $3 billion if the league didn’t come up with the bubble environment near Orlando. 

ESPN estimates “a projected 40% loss in overall revenue,” which equates to $4 billion. This revenue loss would affect the team’s salary cap. This would lead to problems as a salary cap decrease of this severity causes almost every team to go into a panic over the luxury tax. The luxury tax is a baseline in which teams are not allowed to sign free agents if they are observe this threshold. This leaves little money for teams to sign free agents. 

The NBPA is going to discuss inflating the salary cap to keep it close to the $109 million thresholds from last season. Rushing to start the season gives them less time to plan it out. 

On top of the financial problem, there are things like the draft and training camps. It would be very stressful for the NBA to pull off the draft by Nov. 18, opening free agency and running training camps all before the expected start date. 

Free agency will be thrown off due to the quick pace. Many free agents, mainly with minimum salary contracts wait weeks, even up to June or August to get a deal in place for the next season. With the season having to start earlier many agents will have to sign the first deal or even lose time with training camps due to signing so late into the offseason. 

Teams like Milwaukee Bucks, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers who were heavy contenders ended up taking big upsets. It would be interesting to see how they bounce back, but it may be too soon with any details for fans or viewers to be excited about their team now.