CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 15: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media during a press conference at the United Center on February 15, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced Friday that the NBA plans to finish the season and is targeting a July 31 return in Orlando.  

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Friday that NBA commissioner Adam Silver has told the Board of Governors that the league is targeting a July 31 return date.

For many, the COVID-19 pandemic became real when the NBA shut down. Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was the first NBA athlete to test positive and it was a shot heard around the country. The league soon shut down, with the NHL and then the rest of America following.

Now, the NBA believes they have a plan to return. They hope to create a bubble league in Orlando, Florida. Most of the kinks in the plan haven’t been worked out yet. For example, the league hasn’t entered negotiations with the NBPA about a return at this time.

However, there are currently four plans on the table. Shams is reporting these plans range from all 30 teams playing up to a 72-game regular season to a plan that sees a 16-team playoff format.

The plan that’s earned the most traction on social media is a World Cup-style group stage. The NBA would include 20-22 teams and separate them into groups for a round-robin. Teams would then advance to a playoff depending on their seeding.

No matter what the plan is, it’s difficult to see the players agreeing to return without assurances regarding their health. A number of NBA players tested positive after the league shut down in March. Thus, a return is risky and could lead to more cases among athletes.

That’s especially true with Florida, as the state is seeing an increase in cases. Experts believe this could be a sign of a second peak. The hope is that the NBA and all sports can return soon, but it has to be done in a safe manner. Otherwise, why would the players put their lives at risk?

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