Report: NBA eyeing Labor Day weekend as latest possible date for season

On Monday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver talked about the league’s plans to return from its coronavirus shutdown with TNT’s Ernie Johnson.

While he said the uncertainty about the course of the pandemic leaves the league with a lot of unknowns, he said for sure that no decision on the fate of the season would be made until May at the earliest.

As for a last possible date for when the season needs to be completed? Silver told Johnson that there was “too little information to make those sorts of projections.”

But ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the league has a date in mind — Labor Day weekend, which concludes on Sept. 7.

“I’ve been told Labor Day weekend, that they’d like to have a champion crowned by Labor Day weekend,” Wojnarowski said on “Get Up” Tuesday morning.

He said that the Labor Day deadline wasn’t a hard one — that league owners would consider a scenario that saw the NBA Finals extend later into the second week of September. But the concern of pushing it later risks further delay to starting the 2020-21 season.

At what point does the NBA prioritize starting next season over crowning a champion for this season? (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Why would NBA prioritize next season over playoffs?

That raises an interesting question. If the NBA is able to resume play late in the summer, should it prioritize getting a full slate in next season over completing this season and crowning a champion? The 2019-20 season is almost complete. Most teams have 16 or 17 games remaining on their schedules.

So if the choice came down to conducting the playoffs or getting next season underway, why would the league prioritize relatively meaningless early-season games over crowning a champion?

Of course, there will become a point when it’s time to move forward, and that’s the consideration here in an increasingly complicated landscape for the NBA and other sports leagues to navigate.

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