The NBA is targeting Dec. 22 as the start date for the 2020-21 season, something that has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic — which forced last season into a bubble at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Though nothing has been finalized, the goal is to hold a shortened 72-game season that starts around Christmas and ends before the Olympics begins in Tokyo in July.
Some players, however, apparently aren’t happy with what would end up being an unusually short offseason.
So much so, in fact, that Los Angeles Lakers guard Danny Green thinks that a lot of veterans won’t even show up right away.
Danny Green: I wouldn’t expect to see [LeBron James] there
The Lakers closed out their series with the Miami Heat on Oct. 11 to secure their 17th championship. If the new season were to start on Dec. 22, that leaves just more than two months for players to recover and reset — compared to the usual five-month break.
Because of that, Green doesn’t think that older players — including LeBron James — will even show up for the first month or so.
If they do, he said on The Ringer’s “NBA Show” on Monday, they won’t be playing much.
"If we start in December, I think most guys [are like], 'I'm not gonna be there,’” Green said. “If I had to guess, because we have a lot of vets on our team, it's not like we have a lot of young guys or rookies ... to have that quick of a restart, I wouldn't expect to see [LeBron] there. I wouldn't expect to see him probably for the first month of the season. He'll probably be working out with us, probably do some playing, but I just don't expect guys to want to be there, or show up willingly.
“I think at this moment, and it might be different in two weeks when guys are like, ‘All right, I'm gonna get back in the gym, start working out.’ When we get back in the gym, it's not right to basketball. It's, ‘All right, let me start getting into shape, lifting a little bit, start running around a little bit. Then I'll pick up a ball.’”
While Green and several of his teammates may feel that way, he knows that he’s probably in the minority.
Not every team was invited to the season restart in Florida, meaning some players haven’t played in a real game since March. Others didn’t make the playoffs or were eliminated in the early rounds, so their breaks have been longer than the Lakers and the Heat are getting.
Green also knows how important it is for the league to have games played on Christmas Day — when the NBA traditionally holds a marquee slate of games.
“A lot of other stars haven’t played in a long time,” Green said. “They’ve had a break. Some guys have been out the bubble for a while. Some teams haven’t played in a year. So majority of the league can be like, ‘OK, we’ll play with the restart.’ … It’s tough when you have different voices, and the majority is against us probably.”
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