NBA rumors: Why we might not see stars like LeBron, Davis, and Butler at the start of the new season

NBA Rumors: In a memo sent to teams by the NBA Monday morning, the league laid out resting policies for the 2020-21 regular season — including granting significant flexibility to teams resting players in non-nationally televised games, particularly at the start of the season.

The memo, which was obtained by ESPN, says that flexibility applies to teams playing back-to-back games and presents examples of possible scenarios, including, “to rest a key veteran player who played a substantial role on a team that advanced deep into the 2020 Playoffs, or to rest a player who is still returning to full strength after recovering from COVID-19.”

That would appear to be a clear nod to players like Los Angeles Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler, who played until mid-October, when the NBA Finals wrapped up and will have to start the new season just over two months later.

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Speaking to reporters Monday for the first time during training camp, James said he and the Lakers will be judicious about his minutes to start the season, as the defending champions look to win another title.

“We’re very conscientious about what we’re going to do going forward, as far as me personally.”

NBA 2020-21: What has the NBA done to ensure protocols are followed?

The NBA released a guide designed to “promote prevention and mitigation strategies to reduce exposure to, and transmission of, the coronavirus,” but that it is possible that some players and staff might contract the virus.

NBA also set up a rules system for what will happen if someone tests positive for COVID-19. Under such a situation, there are two possible routes to return: a “time-based” resolution, and a “test-based” resolution.

NBA news: Summarising the 134-page guide released by NBA before the start of the 2020-21 season

NBA Schedule: The tentative NBA schedule calendar for the NBA 2020-21 season:

 • Dec. 11-19, 2020: Preseason games

 • Dec. 22, 2020 – March 4, 2021: First Half of regular season

 • March 5-10, 2021: All-Star break

 • March 11 – May 16, 2021: Second Half of regular season

 • May 18-21, 2021: Play-In Tournament

 • May 22 – July 22, 2021: 2021 NBA Playoffs

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