According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA and its player’s union are closing in on an agreement to hold an All-Star Game for the 2020-21 season, with Atlanta set to host the star-studded exhibition and skill competition events on March 7.
Initially, the 2021 All-Star Game was supposed to occur in Indianapolis. Still, due to the COVID-19 situation, it was postponed, and the league decided to give the city the 2024 All-Star Game instead.
The single-night event will encompass the Eastern Conference-Western Conference game as well as the skills competitions.
The NBA and NBPA are finalizing health and safety protocols that will govern the All-Star participants and those players leaving for the league’s March 5-10 break. According to sources, the All-Star Game and skills competitions will be held at the home of the Atlanta Hawks, the State Farm Arena.
Per Wojnarowski, at halftime of the actual game, the league plans to hold the Slam Dunk Contest. The 3-Point Shootout and Skills Challenge are also expected to take place at some point so that it resembles what is used to being seen during the NBA’s annual weekend of events. Holding the All-Star Game will also allow the league to raise money for HBCUs and COVID-19 relief.
Unlike in previous years, attending the All-Star Game may not be compulsory for players if they are chosen to play. If a player wants to instead use that break in action as a way to rest before the second half of the season, or simply chooses not to compete because of health and safety risks involved, that may be a possibility.
During the All-Star break, players will be permitted to travel in the United States, including Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, said sources.
The NBA is reportedly expected to release a schedule for the second half of the season in the next two to three weeks.