During dark times, there is always opportunity. With the NBA in a holding pattern for the foreseeable future, owners and league officials will have to adjust this season at the very least. The latest reporting has a mid-to-late June return as the best-case scenario. The NBA can and should use that to their advantage
Despite a wild offseason and largely entertaining regular season this year, ratings have declined. Part of the decline is due to the situation with Daryl Morey and China, which tanked international viewership amongst all teams. Another reason for the decline is that fans have too much to watch in the fall and winter seasons. During October and November, at any given time we could have all four major sports on at the same. The oversaturation of sports in the fall has become overbearing, it is simply too difficult for the average fan to keep up with all four leagues simultaneously.
As it currently stands, the NBA competes with the NFL from the start of the season in October to February. Ratings spike up significantly once the NFL season ends, however they still compete with the NHL as well, as they are on a very similar schedule.
This summer, if we are to have an NBA season starting at mid-to-late June, could go as followed: Regular season action from the starting point to the beginning of July, then playoffs from July to the end of August. The NBA would have the spotlight of the entire sports world for that period, and ratings would be sky high. Imagine a hot summer day at the beach followed by Celtics vs. 76ers that very evening? Sign me up.
Now the NHL will likely have to do the same if they are to resume action as well. I would suggest they start the playoffs immediately in mid-to-late June, so they can finish earlier, and have more of the limelight early on.
The next season, the NBA should continue this trend and start on Christmas day, playing an 82-game season until June, and then a traditional four round playoffs would follow. Sports fans would then have either the NBA or NFL at all times, something should make fans salivate over.
The two wild cards in this scenario would be the NHL and MLB. The NHL could follow suit and adjust their schedule to extend into late summer, however I doubt that they would do that given the fact that the ice quality come June is shoddy at best and would only get worse deeper into the summer.
I would suggest that the NHL continue doing business as they usually do, start their season at the beginning of October, and play into the beginning of June. If we are fortunate enough to have the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year, next season would not start on time regardless, which is why I believe a shortened season in 2020-2021 would be the most beneficial for the NHL. The next year they can get back on track and play the season as usual.