The participation of the NBA in the Tokyo Olympics next year is in jeopardy because of possible scheduling conflicts between the two events.
The fate of the next NBA season still hangs in the balance. For one, it could be condensed to an extremely short season. The NBA will not open its next season until January of next year. With the COVID-19 situation in the United States not improving, it could be further pushed back to a later time.
In other words, the teams will play in a shortened season, or a pushed back playing calendar. Many events are attached to the opening of the next season. As a result, the league will have to be creative in performing the balancing act.
NBA and Tokyo Olympics schedule conflict
With the NBA starting at a later time, the participation of the NBA players in the Tokyo Olympics is in jeopardy. The league reportedly wants to play a full 82-game schedule next year. However, making this possible will mean that the schedule from January could extend even past August 2020.
If this schedule is followed, it means that the NBA Playoffs schedule will coincide with the Tokyo Olympics. Several players have committed to playing for the USA team to redeem their early exit from the FIBA World Cup last 2018. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the redemption story could also be jeopardized.
When asked about the NBA’s participation in the Olympics, Adam Silver said,
“There are a lot of great U.S. players, and we may be up against a scenario where the top 15 NBA players aren’t competing in the Olympics, but other great American players are competing.”
Top global players will want to play for their home team
The statement above by Silver suggests that the cream of the crop may not represent the USA in the Olympics. However, his message fails to consider that some of the teams in the NBA have international star players in their rosters.
The long list includes Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, and Luka Doncic, to name a few. These players are part of Playoffs teams that will play deep into the Playoffs. As such, the NBA also has to consider the interests of these stars.
They will want to play for their home country’s basketball. As such, the NBA front office also has to consider the impact of prohibiting international players from playing in Tokyo. It stands to draw heavy criticisms if it limits the participation of players in the Olympics.
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