The NBA is deep into the Conference finals behind closed doors inside the Orlando bubble at Walt Disney World Resort after the 2019-20 campaign resumed in July, having been suspended in March due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
A December tip-off for the new season was tentatively flagged previously but Silver said the league is set to be pushed back to January.
Murray and Nuggets fend off Lakers comeback to win Game 3
“My best guess is even though it’ll be the 2020-21 season, that the season won’t start until 2021,” Silver told CNN.
“We said the earliest we would start is Christmas of this year. But the more I’m learning and listening to Dr. Anthony Fauci [head of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases] this morning, I continue to believe we’re going to be better off going into January. The goal for us next season is to play a standard season.
“And further, 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.”
A January start date could clash with the rescheduled Olympic Games in Japan, where the United States will defend their gold medal.
The Tokyo Games are due to be held between July 23 and August 8 and Silver added: “There are a lot of great U.S. players, and we may be up against a scenario where the top 15 NBA players aren’t competing in the Olympics, but other great American players are competing.
“And, obviously, there are many NBA players who participate in the Olympics for other countries. That’s something we’re going to have to work through.”
“These are highly unique and unusual circumstances,” Silver said. “And I think just as it is for the Olympic movement, it is for us as well. And we’re just going to have to sort of find a way to meld and mesh those two competing considerations.”
Get breaking news alerts.
You have already subscribed