The NBA is set to approve a return to play. The restart will include 22 teams in a Walt Disney World “bubble.”
On Wednesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the NBA is expected to approve a plan for basketball to return during the summer. There were rumblings that the NBA would move forward with a 22-team format, which Wojnarowski confirms here.
The season was put on hold on March 11 due to the outbreak of COVID-19, and the league’s board of governors will vote to approve the proposal for the league’s return on Thursday afternoon.
According to this plan, 22 teams will participate, and games will be played at the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, FL. Here’s a quick look at some of the plan’s details.
Of the 22 teams, 13 will be from the Western Conference and nine from the Eastern Conference.
The teams who will not be invited to return are the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves, and New York Knicks.
All 22 teams will play eight regular-season games for the purpose of playoff seeding. Six current non-playoff teams joining the action are the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, and Washington Wizards.
If the ninth seed ends up being more than four games behind the eighth seed, then the eighth seed will make the playoffs. If fewer, there will be a play-in tournament.
According to Wojnarowski, the No. 8 seed and No. 9 seeds would enter double- and single-game elimination tournaments, respectively.
Training will begin at team sites in July but will be moved to Orlando later that month once full training camps commence. The NBA is still working to establish a safety protocol, but some measures have already been decided on.
For example, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, players and coaches will be allowed to play golf and eat at outdoor restaurants but must maintain social distancing at all times. Additionally, resort staff members will not be permitted to enter players’ rooms.
While players and coaches will be allowed to golf and eat at outdoor restaurants in Disney, they will also be required to maintain social distancing, sources tell @ramonashelburne. https://t.co/X2esAfEPvq
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 3, 2020
Daily testing for coronavirus will also be part of the plan. Players who test positive will obviously be quarantined and treated individually.
When the league returns things will be strange, but the fact that basketball is coming back is something for fans to get excited about, especially since this tournament will be unlike anything we’ve seen before.