Coming off the longest season in NBA history, it appears we’ll have an equally unorthodox offseason.
According to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN, the NBA and NBPA are expected to agree on a Dec. 22 start date for the 2020-21 season, as well as Dec. 1 start date for training camps, by the end of the week. Assuming that holds true, the Los Angeles Lakers will report to training camp just 51 days after their championship-clinching win over the Miami Heat on Oct. 11. For context, the 2019 champions, the Toronto Raptors, had 100 days between their last playoff game and the start of training camp.
Danny Green, who was the starting shooting guard for the Raptors and Lakers during their championship runs, is one of the players that would greatly benefit from a later start to the 2020-21 season, but he plans on reporting to training camp when he’s called and he expects his teammates to do the same despite his recent comments about LeBron James:
“We’ll all show up for work. I’m not speaking on or for anybody. I was just joking saying certain guys — not just LeBron, we have a lot of vets on our team — and we prefer not to start Dec. 22 ... We have a lot of guys with eight-plus years, 10-plus years (of experience) on our team. To do a long season like we had, regardless of how long we had in between, we still finished at a date and to start up a month-and-a-half later, or two months later, is tough. But we will show up for work, so don’t take it out of context, and I’ll speak no more on it, but we hope that we get a little more time to relax and rest and give our bodies a chance to recover before we start back up again.”
Green made sure to reiterate that his comments about James were meant as a joke to his guest and boss Rob Pelinka, the vice president of basketball operations and general manager of the Lakers:
“Good luck with the calls, I guess just keep me updated on what you hear. Hopefully we don’t have that quick turnaround, but if we do, I will be there for work, will show up for work, even though people take everything out of context.”
The Lakers showing up for training camp was low on the list of concerns, though, and that’s assuming it was ever a genuine concern. The real concerns all have to do with how the Lakers’ veteran roster will respond to returning to the court so quickly, especially with players such as Green nursing injuries. A Dec. 22 start date is good for the overall financial health of the league, but it might not be good for the players’ health — particularly the players that played big roles on teams that made deep runs in the postseason.
We’ll see where we are a few months from now, but my initial feeling is that it’s too soon, and it seems like the players agree.