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NBA Offseason Heats Up with Draft and New Start Date

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Written by Katherine Clatterbuck

Following the Lakers’ triumphant season, the NBA is working towards the next season as the December 22nd start date gets closer and closer. Before the announcement, many players, including stars like Lebron James, had pushed for a January 18th start date. This date was requested in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as a show of respect and honor for the societal changes being promoted by many NBA players. This request from players was rejected as the NBA’s financial and business concerns led to the preparation for the earlier start.

The earlier start date also meant a shift in another important date in the NBA season: the draft. On November 18th, the Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors, and Charlotte Hornets had the top three picks. Anthony Edwards from the University of Georgia was the first overall pick, going to the Minnesota Timberwolves. LaMelo Ball was the third draft pick, going to the Charlotte Hornets. Ball now joins his brother in the professional leagues, Lonzo Ball, who is a point guard for the New Orleans Pelicans. 

Prior to and following the draft, trades took place all across the league. Chris Paul was traded to the Phoenix Suns from Oklahoma City Thunder, followed by Jrue Holiday, who was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks from the New Orleans Pelicans. Another important trade has been rumored via Twitter, as James Harden publicized the teams he wishes to be traded to, including the Brooklyn Nets. A trade to the Brooklyn Nets would set the Nets up for a productive season, as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both reside on the team. This trio is predicted to be successful as they each exhibit the strengths of great teammates. 

With training camp near the beginning of December, the league’s 30 teams are preparing for a shorter 72-game season compared to the usual 82 games. Along with this change, safety concerns have led to a great amount of obscurity in regard to fans’ attendance. With COVID-19 precautions in mind, it is likely that the amount and conduct of fans will be drastically different from previous years. The latter half of the 2020 NBA season took place in the bubble, showcasing the NBA’s value of safety for both teams and fans. Understanding previous safety precautions within the NBA, the likelihood that the NBA will continue to be strict regarding fan attendance to protect the health of players, coaches, and staff is incredibly high, which will leave fans across the world with another unique season to watch from home.