The NBA has taken a major step towards returning to the court. In a conference call today, the league’s Board of Governors voted in favor of a return-to-play plan that would bring 22 teams to Orlando for a season restart this summer, the Associated Press reports.
The plan, which was said to be approved in a report yesterday from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, includes a slate of eight regular season games per team before launching into playoffs. A play-in tournament is also possible to determine the eighth seeds in both the Eastern and Western Conference. Teams invited to Orlando for the restart include the top 16 teams in both conferences plus the six teams said to be within six games of the eighth place of their conference: Pelicans, Trail Blazers, Spurs, Kings, Suns and Wizards.
Teams would report to Orlando for training beginning next month with the league reportedly aiming to launch games on July 31. Officials have discussed the postseason running until mid-October which would likely push back the start of the 2020-21 season. For teams omitted from the return-to-play scenario, their offseason training is expected to be raised to the players’ union, Wojnarowski reports.
League officials and the NBA Players Association are in negotiations over the health protocols that will be utilized upon resuming the season, including reported daily coronavirus testing for all personnel in Orlando. Per ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, players and coaches would be allowed to eat at outdoor restaurants and golf as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines. Similar measures will be taken by staff at the Disney-owned properties housing the league’s return to keep physical distance.
Although fans would not be admitted into any games for safety reasons, there has been significant hype across social media as deprived basketball fans reacted to the news.
58 days until the NBA is back. The countdown has begun.
— ⚡️ (@Prime_VC) June 3, 2020
NBA IS BACK?!! Best news I’ve heard in a LONG time! 🏀🏀 pic.twitter.com/h0UyQBsBCL
— Anali 🇩🇴♉️ (@nysmiilez) June 3, 2020
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