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NBA Sets Plan For Return

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NBA will return to finish the 2019-20 season. The league’s Board of Governors voted in favor of restarting the season. The season will return tentatively on July 31 and will end no later than October 12.

The NBA has been sidelined since March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.

In total, 22 of the NBA’s 30 teams will return to finish the season. Included in the full 22 team slate, the NBA will invite the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, and San Antonio Spurs to finish their regular season from the West. The Washington Wizards will travel to Orlando from the East.

Each team will play eight regular-season games at the Disney Resort to determine the seeding of the playoffs, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Jazz own the West’s fourth-best record.

The NBA released the following statement after their meeting with the Board of Governors:

“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalized with public health officials and medical experts. We also recognize that as we prepare to resume play, our society is reeling from recent tragedies of racial violence and injustice, and we will continue to work closely with our teams and players to use our collective resources and influence to address these issues in very real and concrete ways.”

The Disney World Resorts will host the close to the NBA season.

Disney World has three arenas capable of hosting NBA broadcasts. Additionally, the site has several basketball courts where teams can hold practice during their off days. According to reports, the Board of Governors voted 29-1 in favor of the 22-team plan. The Portland Trail Blazers were reportedly the only team against the proposal.

Important Dates

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the first round of training camp will begin June 30. Players who have had to travel to rejoin their teams will be subjected to quarantine for two weeks. After tests clear the traveling player then will be welcomed back to the practice facility.

Free Agency will reportedly begin on October 18, six days after a potential Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The league will target November 10 to start training camp for the 2020-21 season with December 1 being the target date for opening night.

Next Steps

Now that the board of governors have approved the plan, the league will need formal approval from the National Basketball Players Association before the NBA can move forward. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the NBPA will hold a virtual call on Friday.

The Players Association will also need to approve the proposal of moving the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery to August 25 and the NBA Draft to October 15. Which is expected to be three days after a potential Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

The league will not release other information on the resumption of the season until the NBPA votes on the two things mentioned above. Also, the league is working with the Players Association along with infectious disease specialists, public health experts and government officials to establish a rigorous program to prevent and mitigate the risk related to COVID-19, including a regular testing protocol and stringent safety practices.

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