The 2020-21 NBA season could have a massive impact on the 2020 Summer Olympics. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Friday it’s “unlikely” the NBA would halt its season so players could take part in the Olympics in 2021.
"We'll consider it. I think it's unlikely, at the end of the day, that, if we start late, we would stop for the Olympics," Silver said in an interview with NBA TV inside the league's bubble at Walt Disney World Resort. "Because, as you know, it's not just a function of stopping for the period in which they are competing over in Tokyo. But they require training camp, and then they require rest afterwards."
The 2020 Summer Olympics were originally set to begin July 22, 2020, but the games were postponed due to the coronavirus. The event — which will still be called the 2020 Summer Olympics — will now start July 23, 2021.
NBA is looking to start 2020-21 season in January
With the 2019-20 season running longer than usual, the 2020-21 NBA season will begin later than normal. Silver said the earliest the 2020-21 season would start is Dec. 25, but added it more likely next season would begin in January.
Because of that, the 2020-21 NBA season could overlap with the 2020 Summer Olympics. In the past, the league would take time off to allow players from Team USA, and international stars, to join their Olympic teams. Silver explained that it would be harder to allow that this season due to the amount of time it takes for players to take part in the Olympics.
Silver said he was “a bit more worried” about those players.
"There are so many incredible players, beginning with the USA team, we'll be able to field a very competitive team," Silver said. "I am a bit worried about some of the international teams, because, as you know, some of their stars play in our league, and their absence would make a huge difference for those national teams.”
While things look bleak now, Silver admitted there’s no way to know how things will look next summer. If the coronavirus is under control, or a vaccine is widely available, perhaps the NBA and Olympics will be able to proceed as usual.
If things remain the same, however, Silver doesn’t sound optimistic about the NBA taking time off for the Olympics in 2021.
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