It is likely that the NBA is going to come back before Christmas and that might not be soon enough for the Canadian men’s national team.
Although nothing is official yet, it is reported that the NBA and the NBA players’ union are close to agreeing on a 72-game season that begins on December 22nd and will have the Finals end before the Summer Olympic Games. It is also reported that the players’ union reps from each team were to vote on the proposal today and it is expected that they would approve it. According to the report, both sides expected the December 22nd start date would be settled by the end of the week.
There are some other issues that need to be worked out, too, such as two related to the massive revenue losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic, including the salary cap for upcoming season and how many percentage of players’ salaries will be kept in escrow, as well as presumably kept by the owners since fans don’t seem to be allowed back in stadiums anytime soon. In addition, instead of withholding 35-40% of players’ salaries for the next season, owners will take back 18% in each of the next two years in order to smooth the financial hit out a little for the players.
Assuming everything happens as planned, the schedule will look like this: Draft on November 18th, shortly followed by free agency, and training camps opening on December 1st. The regular season should finish in the middle of May, which allows for a full playoff tournament to conclude by the middle of July.
That would allow NBA players to join the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, which will start on July 23rd. However, it still leaves the men’s national team in a tricky spot since their last-chance qualifier is from June 29th to July 4th in Victoria, and if Canada wants to reach the Olympics for the first time since 2000, they have to win the six-team tournament.