NBA to cut season to allow best players to compete in Tokyo

Team owners and the NBA players’ association have agreed on a shortened season to allow players from the world’s best league to compete in next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Wednesday.

“The owners of NBA teams have agreed with the players’ association on an early and shortened NBA season starting on Dec. 22,” Bach told a news conference.

“This will allow the best basketball players to play at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“This is what the players want. This is what the movement wants and may National Olympic Committees want very much. It is excellent news.”

The Tokyo Games were due to be held in 2020 but were postponed to start in July 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

However, Canada’s Olympic fate still hangs in the balance. 

Having yet to qualify, the nation must win a last-chance tournament in Victoria, B.C. beginning on June 29, to keep its Olympic dreams alive. 

The problem is that this tournament falls smack in the middle of the NBA’s new playoff schedule. Which means, considering the crunch, there is little chance that Canada will be able to take to the court in Victoria with a full roster. CBC Sports’ Myles Dichter writes more about Canada’s potential dilemma, while exploring some solutions here