The first American sports league to officially shut down back on March 11th, is now officially set to return at the end of July. According to many sources, the NBA’s board of governors intends to approve a league proposal on a 22 team format to restart the NBA season. The NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and league officials have informed the teams and players of the plan. Here’s what we know…
The entire season will be completed at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, which has multiple, professional size, NBA basketball courts on it’s campus and will host all of the remaining regular season and playoff games. Teams will begin training at their team sites in July, then advance to full training camps in Orlando in the month before the season begins on July 31st.
The selection of the 22 teams that will play in the remainder of the 2019-2020 campaign include the top 8 teams from each conference, and any team currently within six games of the 8th seed in the two conferences. In the Western Conference that includes the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns. In the Eastern Conference, only the Washington Wizards make the cut.
All of the teams will play out the 8-game regular season which, as a precursor to the playoffs, will determine whether or not a team makes the playoffs and in some cases will determine seeding. This was put into place to give teams on the bubble a chance to get in, while allowing other teams to solidify their seed while getting into basketball shape.
If by the end of the 8-game regular season, the 9th seed in the conference is within 4 games of the 8th seed, those two teams will compete in a “play-in tournament” to determine who takes the last position. The play-in would be a maximum of two games. While the 8th seed just needs to win once, the 9th seed will need to defeat the 8th seed two games in a row. It is not clear what would happen if two teams were tied for the 9th seed in a conference, and within 4 games of the 8th seed.
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are negotiating details of the return-to-play safety protocols and competition rules. Life in the NBA bubble will be governed by a set of safety protocols that include, according to sources, players being allowed out to eat or to golf, but they will need to maintain social distancing.
Sources say the NBA is planning to have uniform, daily testing for the coronavirus within the Disney campus environment. If a player tests positive for the virus, the league’s intent is to place that player in quarantine while continuing to test other team members as they play on.
More information will be made available after the June 4th meeting. Schedules, game times and other details are highly anticipated, but we have heard that the regular season will be in a “summer league” format, meaning NBA games will be on weekdays starting in the afternoon. Perhaps 6-8 games per day.
As we await more specifics, we now have our format, we have our return date and we have NBA basketball!