The NBA and its players are expected to agree to start future regular seasons a week to 10 days earlier than they have in the past as part of the impending new CBA, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.
This, in turn, would shorten the preseason and make it easier to eliminate more of the debilitating back-to-back and four-games-in-five-night stretches that take a toll on teams.
Opening night fell on Oct. 25 this season, but would instead happen anywhere from Oct. 15 to Oct. 20 in 2017-18, according to Stein.
Shortening the season as a means of limiting the density of the regular-season schedule has been a priority for NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
"There’s a general sense right now that in this day and age where players are in condition all year round (and) are working out hard in the summer, that we don’t necessarily need an eight-game preseason moving into the regular season," Silver said in 2015, via USA Today.
The league has also made player health a priority since Silver took over as commissioner. Teams will play an average of 16.3 back-to-back sets this season, down from nearly 18 in 2015-16. They will also play a total of just 20 sets of four games in five nights, down from 70 two seasons ago. Silver also instituted an additional three-day schedule break after the All-Star Game starting in the 2014-15 season.
Replacing the end of preseason with another week to 10 days for the regular season could eliminate four-game-in-five-night stretches entirely and dramatically lessen the number of back-to-back games. Though it’d make the regular season longer on the calendar, it should keep players fresher for each game.