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Would next NBA season start in December, or March? Depends on vaccine/treatment (which won't be perfect). Audiences in Brooklyn? Stay tuned.

An internal planning document obtained by Morning Consult outlines four scheduling scenarios the league is considering for next season, including one in which it would push the start of next season back to March if there is a path to a coronavirus vaccine or therapeutic treatment that increases the likelihood that its teams could host fans in their home arenas over the course of an 82-game schedule.
That would have to include a mid-summer break for the Olympics, which would tire some top players.

In the other three scenarios, the season would start in December, with the possibility that some cities and arenas would host fans, with approval by local health authorities, and others would not. 

Scenarios include "regionally restricted matchups to limit travel" and use of a neutral site, such as Louisville, Ky., which has a large arena with no pro team, as well as a league-operated neutral site, like the one for this season's "bubble" starting July 31 in Orlando, with a truncated number of games: 64 to 72, rather than 82.

And in Brooklyn

What might this mean for the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center?

As of a few months ago, when New York (and Brooklyn) was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, it seemed very unlikely that events, with or without fans in the seats, would return to the Barclays Center soon.

Now that the pandemic has been tamped down significantly, and with an audience-free MTA Video Music Awards ceremony scheduled for next month, the path to holding NBA games--whether or not with an audience--seems possible.

Of course, we'll have to see how the "bubble" works, and how much teams, and associated NBA/support personnel, are impacted by the virus.

And, of course, even if the virus count stays low in New York, the notion of teams and personnel flying in from another city would add risk. But as we know, the Nets have queried fans about what protocols would make them feel more confident about attending games in person.

Even the introduction of a vaccine or treatment, however good news, wouldn't immediately translate to 100% effectiveness, adding another question mark regarding the level of acceptable risk.

Bottom line: there are a lot of moving parts.

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