NBA Set To Return: The 22-Team Plan Agreed and Approved

On June 4th, the NBA announced that it had agreed on a plan to return this summer.   Starting on July 31st with playoffs to be held after the regular season.  Each NBA team’s presumed remaining schedule as 22-team plan officially approved for Orlando as the location of play…

The NBA was among the first professional sports leagues in the US to suspend play due to the coronavirus pandemic.  The NBA suddenly suspended its season March 11th with 259 regular-season games remaining on the schedule.  The games stop after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for Covid-19 — a move that sent a nationwide signal to Americans about the seriousness of the virus.

Over the past month, efforts from the league’s top players, and NBA owners have pushed to crown a champion.  It’s noted that NBA commissioner Adam Silver has always been open to the league’s return.  As of May 8th the league even allowed voluntary practices with four or fewer players present.  The NBA has floated the idea of quarantining players.  It appears that the idea didn’t sit well with NBA players.

All remaining NBA games will be held in Orlando, Florida at Walt Disney World Resort. The league is hoping to create a “bubble” for players, coaches, and staff by having everything at a central location at Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.  This is a win in from Disney’s perspective, the potential value of the NBA playing exclusively on its property is incalculable. Disney owns ESPN, which broadcasts hundreds of NBA games each year.  Also, the presence in Disney World could be a much-needed boon to Disney.

There were several formats discussed.  The 22 team format was selected.  League’s owners approved the 22-team proposal by a 29-1 vote.  The Portland Trail Blazers were the only dissenting vote.

Important dates:

  • June 15th: International players return to markets
  • June 21st: All players report
  • June 22nd: Coronavirus testing begins
  • June 30th: Beginning of training camps
  • July 7th: Travel to Orlando
  • July 31st: Beginning of restarted 2019-20 season
  • August 25th: NBA Draft Lottery
  • October 12th: Game 7 of the NBA Finals (if necessary)
  • October 15th: NBA Draft
  • October 18th: Start of free agency
  • November 10th: Training camps for 2020-21 season begin
  • December 1st: Opening night for 2020-21 season

Inviting just the current top eight teams in each conference wouldn’t have allowed for any games before the playoffs, and it would also have been unfair to the teams within striking distance of a playoff berth who lost out on anywhere from 13-16 games to make their stretch run.

To the first point of needing some games to get back in a rhythm, keep in mind, by the time the games actually begin, it will have been almost five months since the season was suspended on March 11th. That is a long time to go without any live game action.

Fans would not be permitted to attend games.  Multiple television producers believe games could be televised with as few as five manned cameras.  When it comes to restarting play, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said he’ll follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and independent health advisers. And the one thing these health experts agree on is that testing is the key to everything.

The WNBA thinks a July return is achievable.

LaToya Wright is the creator of and independent contributor.  Connect with her about lifestyle, beauty, and fashion topics at @fatgirl_fashion on Twitter.

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