The NBA will resume its season on July 31st following a 29-1 vote by the board of governors in favor of the league office’s 22-team plan, per ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski. This move has been expected since last week’s board meeting, which featured an open debate of various plans for resuming league play.
Not much has changed in terms of the plan for the resumed season’s format. As expected, 22 teams will be invited to the “bubble site” at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. These teams reportedly are to include the eight teams from each conference that are currently in the playoff picture, as well as the six teams that are within six games of the eighth seed in their respective conferences (the Wizards, Spurs, Trail Blazers, Suns, Kings, and Pelicans).
Each of the 22 teams will play an abbreviated, eight game ending to the regular season to determine seating. As this falls somewhat short of the 15 games the aforementioned teams would have had to play their way into the playoffs, there will also be a play in tournament if the ninth seed in a given conference finishes within 4 games of the eighth seed.
The NBA also has established a tentative timeline to transition from the end of the 19-20 season to the beginning of the 20-21 season. With play resuming July 31st, the NBA hopes for the last possible date of an NBA Finals Game 7 to be October 12th. The draft would then be held on the 15th, with the lottery having been held in August. Free Agency would then begin October 18th, with the league beginning a new season on December 21st, 2020.
As for protocol for NBA life under the Disney “bubble”, ESPN reports that players and coaches will be allowed to leave the compound to eat at local restaurants and, of course, play golf (we all know NBA players draw power from golfing). Players will also be tested before the resumption of training, as well as every day during the season to monitor the health of every player as closely as possible.
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