New NBA season may start Dec. 22

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    THE National Basketball Players Association is close to a deal that would start the 2020-21 NBA season on Dec. 22 with a reduced schedule of 72 games per team, according to ESPN.

    The Athletic previously reported the possibility of a 72-game season that would start just before Christmas. According to ESPN, the NBA’s board of governors and the NBPA were holding separate meetings on the matter Thursday with the expectation that the start date would be approved.

    The upcoming regular season, if agreed upon, would be 10 games shy of a typical NBA regular-season schedule.

    The players association is expected to take a vote among team player representatives at some point Thursday, according to the ESPN report. A salary escrow in the vicinity of 18 percent was expected to be agreed upon for the next two years.

    The NBA draft is scheduled for Nov. 18, with training camps likely to open Dec. 1.

    The projected start date would leave the possibility that the regular season would finish before the start of the 2021 Summer Olympics, which are set to begin on July 23 in Tokyo.

    There is no indication when or if games in the 2020-21 season would be played in front of fans. The NBA lost $800 million in ticket sales during the just-concluded season because of the ongoing pandemic, ESPN reported on Oct. 28.