2020-2021 NBA Season Key Dates Set, Salary Cap Revealed

NBA Season Key Dates

  • With a December 22nd start date, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski announced the NBA’s tentative key dates and salary cap numbers
  • After the Houston Rockets parted ways with Daryl Morey and Mike D’Antoni, it looks like stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook are the next to go
  • New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau is advocating for “win now” moves by his front office

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A report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski provided the tentative schedule for the 2020-2021 NBA season. After the 2019-2020 season came to an end in October, the tentative schedule outlines the expected start date of December 22nd, with an estimated end date of July 22nd at the latest.

Other key dates in Wojnarowski’s report show the All-Star break would occur from March 5th to March 10th – no All-Star Game is scheduled during that time. Upon the end of the NBA regular season, May 16th, 2021, the NBA would enter its second-ever Play-In Tournament period for the NBA’s seventh through tenth seeds.

The league’s compressed 72-game schedule is clearly an attempt at bringing the NBA calendar back to normal, should a 2021-2022 season hope to resume on the league’s normal timing. The lack of an All-Star Game is likely a consolation for the players who will experience one of the fastest turnarounds in league history. While thorough, the reported schedule is still open for adjustment.

Pre-Season Set For Dec 11-19

While all eyes are on the NBA regular season schedule, teams still need to prepare for the upcoming season. While training camps are still being scheduled, the NBA is hoping to have a preseason schedule set between December 11th and 19th.

Teams will reportedly have the option to participate in three or four games. All matches are expected to follow the same strict health and safety protocols that will be present during the regular season.

The NBA preseason process usually takes three to four weeks, but this year’s condensed eight-day schedule will be a rehearsal of sorts for teams and organizational staff alike. With 72 games occurring over the course of five months, each team’s preseason schedule will likely mirror a weekly schedule for this upcoming season.

Houston, We Have a Problem!


The Houston Rockets have been one of the league’s best franchises, as they’ve finished at .500 or above since 2013. Their success unsurprisingly coincided with the acquisition of James Harden who, prior to joining Houston, was coming off of a Sixth Man of the Year season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Seven years later the Rockets are looking to rebuild and it looks as if star Harden and teammate Westbrook may be on the trade block.

Harden’s accomplishments rank him as one of the best players the league has ever seen. An eight-time All-Star, three-time scoring leader, Sixth Man of the Year, and Most Valuable Player, Harden’s last seven years with the Rockets have failed to award him with an NBA Championship. ESPN recently reported that Harden is a top priority for the Brooklyn Nets.

Reports have stated that Russell Westbrook is disgruntled at being part of a rebuild or playing second-fiddle to a star for a consecutive season. The former NBA Most Valuable Player is on the third of a five-year $206 million contract. Should the Rockets part with one, you should expect the other wouldn’t be in town for long.

Are the Knicks Angling to Compete?

When the New York Knicks chose to hire Tom Thibodeau, most NBA fans were aware of his strengths and weaknesses as a team leader. Excellent defensively with a drive that is infectious to the right group of players, Thibodeau has lead many teams to success so long as he has the right core.

With the Knicks, Thibodeau inherits an incredibly young roster with little to no successful experience in the NBA. It comes as no surprise that Thibodeau is asking his front office to move for impactful players, as his current lineup has promising pieces in Barrett and Robinson, who are unlikely to lead a playoff run should the season start today.

Thibodeau was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2010-2011, having led the Chicago Bulls to the best record in the league during his first-ever head coaching stint. Thibodeau was also an NBA Champion as an assistant coach with the 2008 Boston Celtics.

Have the Toronto Raptors Zoned in on Florida?

According to a report by Michael Grange of SportsNet Canada, the Toronto Raptors have zoned in on Tampa Bay as their temporary home during the 2020-2021 NBA season; if they fail to secure Toronto as a viable home location.

The temporary switch to Tampa Bay would also see the Toronto Raptors make a divisional switch with the Washington Wizards. Seeing the 2019 NBA Champions join the Southwest and the Wizards joining the Atlantic. The switch would be made in favour of scheduling for NBA teams, as proximity for in-division matchups would be simpler.

While the Toronto Raptors 2020-2021 home has not been made official yet, a recent piece by Masai Ujiri in the Toronto Star revealed that the Raptors President still sees Toronto as his team’s main priority in terms of home location.

Trade Market Opens, Teams Already Making Moves


While the NBA’s free agency period won’t begin until two days after the November 18th NBA Draft, teams are preparing for next season already as the trade market officially opens on November 16th.

Considering the state of NBA free agency, only players under contract for the 2020-2021 season will be eligible for trade – as well as present and future NBA Draft picks.

The Los Angeles Lakers are already looking to build on their 2020 Championship season. Despite reports that the Lakers were looking to acquire Demar Derozan of the San Antonio Spurs, recent reports have stated that the Lakers will be unloading Danny Green and their 28th Overall Pick in the 2020 NBA Draft in exchange for Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dennis Schroder.

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Christian Jope

Expert on NBA

Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.



Email: christian.jope@wsn.com