The NBA commission doesn’t seem to be ready to let the next year’s Tokyo Olympics interfere with its plans for the next season.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a press conference before Game 2 of the NBA Finals that it’s unlikely the NBA would cancel its next season in order for players to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. He added that it’s not just a function of delaying for the period in which they are competing in Tokyo but they require training camp and rest afterward.
A potential scheduling conflict became apparent as in September Silver appeared on CNN and stated that the 2020-21 season will likely start in January of the next year.
The 2021 Summer Olympic Games, which were originally scheduled for 2020 but suspended because of concerns raised about the COVID-19 pandemic, will take place from July 23 to August 8 next year.
If the next NBA season starts in January, there is the possibility that the playoffs will begin around the time that the Tokyo Olympic Games will do.
The matter isn’t just that this requires to find a way to free up the players’ schedules so that they will have time to compete for the Team USA, as Silver said. As factoring in training camp and the usual downtime that competitors get after international competition, the NBA would need to halt play for at least one month in order for the players to participate in the Tokyo Games.
Since the players will already be in playing shape and may have had experience playing with each other from the past All-Star Games, Olympic events, or being teammates, they may not need training camp. However, being in mid-season form might prevent them from requesting extensive rest after the Games finish.
That means, it appears that in order for the Team USA to have its normal cohort of star players, they will have to be prepared to put more strain on their bodies.