NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12: An NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store on March 12, 2020 in New York City. The National Basketball Association said they would suspend all games after player Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz reportedly tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
(Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

The NBA season will resume with a 22-game format in July. Further, the draft lottery will be in August while the NBA Draft takes place in October.

Josh Benjamin

At long last, sports will resume following the COVID-19 shutdown.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the NBA’s Board of Governors officially approved a return to play with 22 teams. Per the agreement, the season will restart in Orlando, FL in July. Wojnarowski also reported the NBA Draft Lottery will take place Aug. 25, with the NBA Draft occurring Oct. 15.

Under the plan, 22 teams will play eight regular-season games each, with play-in games for the No. 8 seeds in the playoffs. Per Woj, the season would resume on July 31 and run through Oct. 12 at the absolute latest. The league first suspended the season back in March, when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. Other pro sports leagues, namely the MLB and the NHL, soon followed suit.

But now, with new COVID-19 cases overall down, it appears safe to resume play.

JB’s take

If I may do a quick Dick Vitale impersonation, the NBA is BACK, baby!

Alright, now to get serious. Jokes aside, this is great news. Morale is overall low because of the pandemic, and fans could really use having some live sports on television. The NBA’s restart thus gives everyone something to look forward to.

But that doesn’t mean everything’s hunky-dory, regardless of infection rates, new cases, etc. There is indeed a lingering concern of a positive test forcing another stoppage, which would be devastating for the league and its players. Plus, the plan is to finish the season and playoffs in Orlando, specifically at Walt Disney World Resort.

Now, the good news is this is not just the league arbitrarily picking a restart date. Commissioner Adam Silver and his team have been thorough almost to a fault in making sure any season resumption happens under the safest of circumstances. From a health and safety standpoint, the league has covered all its bases.

But there are still some concerns. Disney has already done a soft re-opening of nearby Disney Springs, its complex with various shops and restaurants. Starting on July 11, the company will begin a phased reopening of its theme parks. Between that, players coming in and out for games and practices, and the concern of someone getting sick still exists even if the games have no fans.

That said, social distancing seems to have worked across the country. Moreover, Silver wouldn’t even entertain the idea of restarting the league if doing so was at all risky. With testing more widely available and social distancing measures in place, this is probably the safest possible solution.

Stay tuned to ESNY for further updates on this developing story.

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