Billionaire NBA team owners lost an estimated $694 million last year because of the pandemic and canceled games and lost ticket sales. This year they have tried to make up for it by cramming more games into a shorter season with a significantly reduced off season.
The 2019-2020 NBA season did not end until October, although it normally ends in June. The 2020-2021 season started on December 22. This means the normal resting period during between seasons went from the usual six months down to two months.
In addition to less rest between seasons, the current season has had a 5% increase in games played per week. Normally the NBA season consists of 82 games over 177 days. This season it is 72 games over 146 days. And many teams have had games rescheduled due to coronavirus issues, sometimes packing in even more games per week.
The result has been more exhausted players who are more prone to injury, with every team except two having multiple star players out with injuries.
Toronto Raptors star Fred VanVleet had this to say about this season:
“To be honest, this is probably the most unpure year of basketball I’ve ever been a part of, just from the whole league and rushing the season back. It’s pretty much all about business this year on every level. It’s hard to hide it now.”
Even though many NBA players are multi-millionaires, in the eyes of the owners, players are still just their employees who they want to squeeze as hard as they can for every drop of profit.