Why the NBA offseason needs to be longer

The National Basketball Association (NBA) recently announced that they plan on starting the 2020-2021 NBA Season on December 22. According to ESPN.com, this will be the shortest offseason that any of the four major sports in America has ever had. 

The short offseason for the NBA is obviously a result of the delayed 2019-2020 season and playoffs. The bubble season in Orlando ended on October 13, with the Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Miami Heat in the series 4-2. 

Health officials are advising against such a short offseason. The average NBA offseason is 156 days, but this offseason will be just 72 days. According to ESPN.com, league health officials are worried about players’ health and are calling for a longer offseason.

There are two groups that will be primarily affected by a shortened offseason: teams that haven’t played since March and teams that played in the bubble. All of this makes one thing clear: The NBA should extend their offseason and give teams more time to prepare.

First off, eight teams, including the recent champion Golden State Warriors, have not played competitive basketball since March, when the league shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These eight teams that did not play in the Orlando bubble are worried it will be difficult to get their players back into basketball games quickly. With facilities just recently opening up, they have less than two months to get their teams back in shape to play in the NBA.

The biggest issue, however, is for the teams who played in the bubble, especially for those in the playoffs. Health officials have begun to warn that a short offseason will not allow for proper recovery time. Players need to allow their bodies to heal, especially for a sport where athletes are playing three to four times a week. 

Lebron James, the face of the NBA, is not pleased with the shortened NBA offseason. After leading the Los Angeles Lakers to their seventeenth championship, he reacted to the season’s starting date on social media with a facepalm emoji. 

Danny Green, another star on the Lakers, has suggested that James may sit out early in the season. 

“To have that quick of a restart, I wouldn’t expect to see him out there,” he explained.

The NBA is in huge trouble if James and other stars sit out early in the season. A Christmas Day game between the Warriors and Lakers is currently planned. If they are unable to convince James to play, revenue for that game and others will drop significantly. The games won’t feature the best of the best. Other players who played in the bubble have threatened not to play early on as well. Is the NBA season really started if their All-Stars and MVPs aren’t playing? 

It is understandable that the NBA would want to start the season off soon. People love to watch the league. However, the safety of the players should be the number one priority. For the sake of preparation time, player safety, game quality, and so much more, the NBA needs to extend its offseason. They’ll regret it if they don’t.