Basketball: NBA 2020-21 season to begin on December 22

LA Lakers take the lead in Game 1 of the NBA Finals beating Miami Heat 116- 98

The NBA season will begin on 22 December after an agreement was reached with players over scheduling, salary figures and free agency dates.

The usual season-start date in October was pushed back because the coronavirus pandemic caused delays to the 2019-20 campaign.

But the NBA and its players’ union have agreed a new date and a 72-game season – a reduction on a usual campaign.

The NBA draft will take place on 18 November.

From 20 November, free agents can start negotiating with teams and will be able to sign deals from 22 November.

The 2020-21 salary cap has also been set at $109.1m (£82.8m).

The 2019-20 season was halted by the coronavirus pandemic in March and concluded in a ‘bubble’ environment in Orlando on 11 October, four months later than the season typically ends.

The Los Angeles Lakers ended a 10-year wait for their 17th NBA title, with LeBron James leading his team to a 4-2 Finals win over the Miami Heat.

With such a short time between the conclusion of the play-offs and the start of next season, there have been reports that some players – such as James – could miss the start of the new campaign in order to rest more.