Report: NBA players approve 72-game season, starting December 22

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 11: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts with his MVP trophy after winning the 2020 NBA Championship over the Miami Heat in Game Six of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on October 11, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers will likely start their reign as defending champions in just about a month. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the NBA Players Association voted to approve a 72-game season starting on December 22nd, on Friday. That means the 2020-2021 NBA season will start just over two months after the conclusion of the NBA Finals which saw the Lakers win their first championship since 2010.

There are still details to be sorted out. These include safety protocols as the league looks to abandon the bubble format and allow teams to play in their home arenas. Additionally, financials still have to be sorted out due to the shorter season and the revenue hit that the league took last season due to the pandemic and the controversy in China. According to Charania, the league expects the salary cap to sit at about $109 million.

As the league continues to finalize their plans, teams around the league are preparing for the 2020 NBA Draft on November 18th. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the moratorium on trades will end shortly before that date. Free agency will likely start soon after and training camps are expected to open in the first few days of December.

For now, all we know is that the Lakers will once again be playing on Christmas Day and this time, they’ll do it as defending champions.

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