2020–21 NBA season

2020–2021 edition of the National Basketball Association season

Encyclopedia from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2020–21 NBA season
LeagueNational Basketball Association
  • December 22, 2020 – May 16, 2021
  • May 18–21, 2021
    (Play-in tournament)
  • May 22 – July 6, 2021
  • July 8–22, 2021
Number of games72
Number of teams30
TV partner(s)ABC, TNT, ESPN, NBA TV
Top draft pickAnthony Edwards
Picked byMinnesota Timberwolves
Regular season
NBA seasons
2021–22 →

The 2020–21 NBA season will be the 75th season of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the regular season has been reduced to 72 games, tentatively scheduled to begin on December 22, 2020.[1] The playoffs are then tentatively scheduled to run under the standard 16-team playoff format between May 22 and July 22, 2021.[1] Due to COVID-19 cross-border travel restrictions imposed by the Government of Canada, the Toronto Raptors plan to play their 2020–21 home games at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida to begin the season.[2]



  • On September 8, 2020, Marvin Williams announced his retirement from the NBA. Williams played for four teams during his 15-year NBA career.[3]
  • On September 14, 2020, Leandro Barbosa announced his retirement from the NBA. Barbosa played 14 seasons in the NBA, winning one championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2015.[4][5]
  • On October 24, 2020, Kevin Séraphin announced his retirement from the NBA. Séraphin played for three teams during his seven-year NBA career.[6][7]
  • On November 16, 2020, Corey Brewer announced his retirement from the NBA. Brewer played for 12 years in the NBA for eight teams, winning one championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011.[8]
  • On November 18, 2020, Dorell Wright announced his retirement from the NBA. Wright played for four teams during his 11-year NBA career.[9]
  • On November 30, 2020, Evan Turner announced his retirement from the NBA. Turner played for six teams during his 10-year NBA career.[10]
  • On December 1, 2020, Andrew Bogut announced his retirement from the NBA. Bogut played 14 seasons in the NBA, winning one championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2015.[11][12]

Free agency

Free agency negotiations were scheduled to begin on October 18, 2020, but that date was delayed. On November 9, it was announced that free agency would begin on November 20 at 6 p.m. ET, with signings permitted starting at 12 p.m. ET on November 22.[13]

Coaching changes

Coaching changes
Team 2019–20 season 2020–21 season
Brooklyn Nets Jacque Vaughn (interim) Steve Nash
Chicago Bulls Jim Boylen Billy Donovan
Houston Rockets Mike D'Antoni Stephen Silas
Indiana Pacers Nate McMillan Nate Bjorkgren
Los Angeles Clippers Doc Rivers Tyronn Lue
New Orleans Pelicans Alvin Gentry Stan Van Gundy
New York Knicks Mike Miller (interim) Tom Thibodeau
Oklahoma City Thunder Billy Donovan Mark Daigneault
Philadelphia 76ers Brett Brown Doc Rivers


The COVID-19 pandemic in North America, which pushed the conclusion of the previous 2019–20 season and playoffs into the summer, has delayed the start date of training camp to November 10, 2020.[31] The preseason will begin on December 11, 2020, and will end on December 19, 2020.[32]

Regular season

The start of the 2020–21 regular season was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NBA initially set a target date of December 1, 2020, to start the regular season.[33] However, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver suggested further delaying the season until at least January because local health orders at each NBA city would limit fan attendance. The NBA receives 40 percent of its revenue from attendance, and thus delaying the season until it's safer to let more fans into the arenas would ease the financial pain.[33][34] The NBA is also contemplating organizing the schedule such that teams would have less travel, with back-to-back games in the same cities against the same opponent.[35] National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts also suggested that the season might eventually have to start inside a "bubble" environment, similar to the 2020 playoffs.[36]

On October 13, the NBA delayed the targeted start date of the regular season from December 2020 to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 18, 2021.[37] Later in October, however, Sports Illustrated reported that the NBA was targeting December 22, 2020, as the first day of the season.[38] On November 5, 2020, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) tentatively approved a 72-game regular season that will begin on December 22, 2020. The season is expected to feature a condensed schedule so that the NBA Finals could be played once again in June, which will allow NBA players to participate in the 2020 Summer Olympics; the Olympics were postponed to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan.[31][39][40]

On November 17, the NBA announced that the 72-game regular season would run from December 22 through May 16. Each team would play three games against each opponent from its own conference and two games against each interconference opponent. The season would include a six-day All-Star break on March 5–10, even though All-Star Game and related festivities may be canceled.[41] The break serves to separate the two halves of the season. The schedule will be released in two parts. The first half will be released in early December, while the second half will be released in the later part of the first half.[1]

By conference

Play-in tournament

The NBA will stage a "Play-in tournament" for teams ranked 7th through 10th in each conference from May 18–21. The 7th place team will play the 8th place team, with the winner earning the 7-seed. The 9th place team will play the 10th place team with the loser of that game being eliminated. The 7th-8th loser will then play the 9th-10th winner, with the winner of that game earning the 8-seed and the loser being eliminated.[1]


The playoffs will begin on May 22 and operate under the standard playoff format, with four rounds of best-of-seven series. The 2021 NBA Finals will begin no later than July 8, with a potential Game 7 no later than July 22.[1]


On July 21, 2020, the NBA and Nike announced that the "Statement Edition" uniforms would switch to the Air Jordan label.[42]


  • The Denver Nuggets' home arena, formerly known as the Pepsi Center, was renamed Ball Arena on October 22, 2020.[43]
  • The Phoenix Suns' home arena, formerly known as Talking Stick Resort Arena, was renamed PHX Arena after the naming rights deal expired on November 6, 2020.[44]

Temporary relocation of the Toronto Raptors to Tampa

As the NBA's plans for the 2020–21 season began to take shape, the Toronto Raptors were denied permission to play home games in Toronto as the Canadian federal government ruled that repeated cross-border trips by the Raptors and their opponents would be a major health risk due to the different levels of COVID-19 cases in the United States and Canada. This is similar to what happened to the Raptors' MLB counterpart, the Toronto Blue Jays, who were forced to play their 2020 games in Buffalo.[45]

After looking at several U.S. cities,[46] the Raptors announced on November 20, 2020, that they would play their home games at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida to begin the season.[2]


This will be the fifth year of the current nine-year contracts with ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV.[47]

See also

Sports icon.png Sports portal


  1. ^ a b c d e "NBA announces structure and format for 2020-21 season". NBA.com. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Toronto Raptors to Start Season in Tampa". SI.com. November 20, 2020. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  3. ^ "Bucks Marvin Williams Retiring From NBA At 34 Saying He's Been Very Blessed". ESPN.com. September 8, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  4. ^ "Warriors Name Leandro Barbosa Player Mentor Coach". NBA.com. September 14, 2020. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  5. ^ Feldman, Dan (September 14, 2020). "Former Sixth Man of the Year Leandro Barbosa retires". sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  6. ^ Askounis, Johnny (October 24, 2020). "Kevin Seraphin announces decision to retire". Eurohoops. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  7. ^ Helin, Kurt (October 24, 2020). "Seven-year NBA veteran Kevin Seraphin retires from basketball at age 30". nba.nbcsports.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  8. ^ "Pelicans announce 2020-21 coaching staff". NBA.com. November 16, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  9. ^ "Dorell Wright calls it a day". Eurohoops. November 18, 2020. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  10. ^ Roche, Conor (November 30, 2020). "Celtics reportedly hiring Evan Turner to assistant coach role". Boston.com. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  11. ^ "Andrew Bogut Announces Retirement". NBA.com. November 30, 2020. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  12. ^ Uluc, Olgun (November 30, 2020). "Andrew Bogut announces retirement from all forms of basketball". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  13. ^ "NBA, NBPA agree on 2020-21 season start and adjustments to CBA". NBA.com. November 9, 2020. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  14. ^ "New York Knicks Name Tom Thibodeau Head Coach". NBA.com. July 30, 2020. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  15. ^ "Jim Boylen Relieve as Bulls Head Coach". NBA.com. August 14, 2020. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  16. ^ "Alvin Gentry relieved of head coaching duties". NBA.com. August 15, 2020. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  17. ^ "Brown Relieved of Head Coaching Duties". NBA.com. August 24, 2020. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  18. ^ "Pacers Relieve Nate McMillan of Coaching Duties". NBA.com. August 26, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  19. ^ "Nets Hire Hall Of Famer Steve Nash Head Coach". ESPN.com. September 3, 2020. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  20. ^ "Coach Billy Donovan, Thunder mutually part ways after five seasons". ESPN.com. September 8, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  21. ^ Reynolds, Tim (September 13, 2020). "Mike D'Antoni tells Rockets he won't return as coach". NBA.com. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  22. ^ "Chicago Bulls Hire Billy Donovan As Head Coach". ChicagoTribune.com. September 22, 2020. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  23. ^ "Bulls name Billy Donovan coach". NBA.com. September 22, 2020. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  24. ^ Reynolds, Tim (September 28, 2020). "Doc Rivers out as LA Clippers coach after 7 seasons". NBA.com. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  25. ^ "Team Names Doc Rivers Head Coach". NBA.com. October 3, 2020. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  26. ^ "Pacers Hire Nate Bjorkgren As Head Coach". NBA.com. October 20, 2020. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  27. ^ "Clippers Name Tyronn Lue Head Coach". NBA.com. October 20, 2020. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  28. ^ "Pelicans name Stan Van Gundy head coach". NBA.com. October 22, 2020. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  29. ^ "Rockets Name Stephen Silas Head Coach". NBA.com. October 30, 2020. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  30. ^ "Thunder Names Mark Daigneault Head Coach". NBA.com. November 11, 2020. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  31. ^ a b Bontemps, Tim; Windhorst, Brian (June 5, 2020). "What we know and don't know about the NBA's return to play". ESPN.com. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  32. ^ "NBA releases 2020-21 preseason schedule". NBA.com. November 27, 2020. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  33. ^ a b Windhorst, Brian (August 20, 2020). "NBA likely pushing back Dec. 1 start to 2020-21 season, Adam Silver says". ESPN. Retrieved September 6, 2020.
  34. ^ Toporek, Bryan (May 9, 2020). "Adam Silver Warns NBA Players About Forthcoming Financial Pain In 2020-21". Forbes. Retrieved September 6, 2020.
  35. ^ Young, Jabari (September 24, 2020). "NBA commissioner Adam Silver says league might not start next regular season until 2021". CNBC. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  36. ^ Bontemps, Tim (July 28, 2020). "NBPA's Michele Roberts says league might need bubble for 2020-21, too". ESPN. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  37. ^ Maloney, Jack (October 13, 2020). "NBA targeting Jan. 18 for start of next season, will give eight weeks notice ahead of time, per report". CBS Sports. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  38. ^ West, Jenna (October 23, 2020). "Report: NBA Targeting Dec. 22 Start Date, 72-Game Schedule". SI.com. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  39. ^ Reynolds, Tim (November 5, 2020). "NBPA reps approve plan to start season Dec. 22". NBA.com. Retrieved November 6, 2020.
  40. ^ Trenaman, Calum (November 6, 2020). "New NBA season set to begin December 22". CNN. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  41. ^ "REPORT: 2021 NBA ALL-STAR GAME UNLIKELY". SLAM. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  42. ^ "Jumpman logo to appear on some NBA uniforms". ESPN.com. July 21, 2020. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  43. ^ Singer, Mike (October 22, 2020). "After 21 years, Pepsi Center to be renamed Ball Arena as part of new partnership". The Denver Post. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  44. ^ Rankin, Duane (November 17, 2020). "Phoenix Suns: New $45-million practice facility ready, adds to excitement". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  45. ^ "Canadian officials concerned over Raptors' cross-border travel". ESPN.com. November 13, 2020. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  46. ^ "U.S. Cities Vying to Host the Raptors Next Season". SI.com. October 27, 2020. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  47. ^ "NBA extends television deals with ESPN, TNT". ESPN.com. February 14, 2016. Retrieved July 12, 2020.

External links

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