The NBA will meet with its television partners, ESPN and Turner, this week to decide on a start date for the 20-21 season.
The consensus currently is to start the season "sooner rather than later" in order to keep the 21-22 season on a more normal calendar. The league has considered starting in February or March in order to maximize the possibility of getting fans back into arenas for game day revenue.
"There's a lot of indication that the NBA might start a lot sooner than anybody thought," said Bill Simmons. "I think the thinking is, I mean Christmas would be the ideal, but I don't think they could pull it together that fast. But if you do it by Martin Luther King weekend range. Somewhere between Christmas and Martin Luther King weekend.
"The thinking is this next season is screwed now. Because fans aren't going to be back until god only knows? April? May? Who knows? But they have to preserve the season after. The later they wait to start this season, the more it [expletive] with the next season.
"So the move, which I think they're starting to talk themselves into, and I know they have talks with the networks this week... But you bite the bullet, you start it sooner than later. You go like 72 games, 70 games, something like that. Get rid of the All-Star break..."
Simmons suggested the NBA will try to condense the schedule with how it sends teams on road trips and that they would end the season by mid-July.
"The thing that they learned is nobody watches television in August. Regardless of whether there's a pandemic or not. The ratings are just not going to be as good. September was a catastrophe going against football. And then the election every four years, things like that. You know what really worked? Having the Finals in June and then the offseason in July and you own those two months. They want to get back to that, or some version of that. To do that, you have to start the next season sooner than later.
"But I was surprised because I thought it wasn't going to start until March or April. But now it sounds like it's going to be sooner."