UTAH JAZZ

NBA Planning For Return In Late July

May 26, 2020, 12:26 PM | Updated: Jun 3, 2020, 11:26 am

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12: An NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Get...

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12: An NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

.SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NBA is aiming to return to action in late July according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. Over the past month, efforts from the league’s top players, and NBA owners have pushed to crown a champion. Perhaps most importantly, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has never closed the door on the league’s return.

Now, it appears the NBA Players Association is doing its part to retake the floor. NBAPA executive director Michele Roberts has been gauging players’ sentiment about returning. According to Shelburne, the “overwhelming” sentiment favors a return in July to finish the NBA season.

Next Steps For A July NBA Return

The next step is for the NBA and its players to agree upon what the league’s July return will look like. The rest of the league’s games are likely to be played in one location yo limit exposure to COVID-19. Currently, Disney World Resorts in Orlando appears to be the favorite location among league officials to return. Disney can offer multiple arenas to host the games.

The NBA must still decide whether it plans to finish the regular season with all 30 teams or skip to the postseason with just 16 of the league’s franchises. If the league hopes plans to finish a portion of the regular season, it must provide ample opportunity for teams to make a push to change the playoff picture. Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has already warned the NBA that he won’t return to play if there isn’t a realistic opportunity to compete for a playoff spot.

The Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, and the Sacramento Kings are all 3.5 games back of the 8th seeded Memphis Grizzlies. For any of the three teams to catch the Grizzlies, they would likely need at least 10 games to close the gap. Any fewer and the close to the regular season may only serve as an exhibition to prepare for the playoffs. At that point, playing extra games may only serve to increase the likelihood of a major injury to a playoff contender.

Establishing A Timeline

In addition to competing for the playoffs, there are financial reasons to play regular-season games. Teams can satisfy their regional sports network obligations by broadcasting 70 regular-season games. Most NBA teams have played between 64-66 games so far this season. Hitting the 70 game mark would prevent teams from having to refund local TV provider money.

Once the NBA’s owners and its players feel comfortable with finishing the season, they must agree on a timeline for a July return. Those guidelines may come as soon as June 1. Once those guidelines have been set, players can start traveling to their home cities to return to practice.

Several of the league’s teams have already reopened their practice facilities. However, team workouts remain prohibited. Players can return to the floor, but must workout on an individual basis. The league has proposed a 25-day return to action plan that would prepare the players to restart competitive play.

The NBA and the NBA Players Association will likely have a plan in place by the end of the week.

 

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