NBA players want to start season on MLK Day: report


A group of NBA players is reportedly pushing for the 2020-21 season to start about a month later than what the league had proposed.

A "substantial faction" of players, including some stars, are hoping for a Jan. 18 start date -- the Monday on which Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls in 2021 -- for the regular season, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo.

The January date is about four weeks after the Dec. 22 date reportedly pitched by the league.

Among the concerns of players opposed to the earlier date is that the Lakers and Heat, the two teams who just finished playing in the bubble in Orlando, will have had only about two months from the end of the Finals before the start of the regular season.

Under the league's proposed schedule, free agency would begin Nov. 20 -- two days after the Nov. 18 draft -- and training camps would open Dec. 1.

The players, meanwhile, would prefer free agency begin Dec. 1, with camps presumably opening in late December or early January.

Lakers veteran Danny Green recently suggested players on teams who made deep runs into the playoffs might skip training camps or even the early part of the season if they felt like they hadn't received enough time to recover and begin training for next season.

Some players, however, might be on the opposite end of the spectrum, since some teams haven't suited up for a game or scarcely practiced since the league was suspended back in March -- not to mention many haven't been paid in that time, either.

Negotiations on the schedule were said to be ongoing.

One change that is officially on the books for 2020-21 is the shortened calendar. Each team will play 72 games next season instead of the customary 82, to account for the late start.

Martin Luther King Day is observed the third Monday of January every year.