NBA Board Approves Restart
The NBA announced yesterday that its Board of Governors approved a 2019-2020 season resumption on July 31 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. According to sources including ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Board approved the plan 29-1, with Portland the sole dissension.
As NBS reported on Wednesday, 22 teams will travel to Orlando for regular-season and playoff games. These teams include 16 in playoff position, plus the six that are within six games of their respective conference’s eight seed.
The return-to-play format has each team playing eight regular-season games. Next is a potential play-in tournament for the eighth playoff spot in each conference.
Then, the playoff would begin under the “traditional conference-based format” with four rounds of best-of-seven games series. According to the NBA, the season would end by October 12 at the latest.
Other dates of note highlighted by the NBA include the delay of the Draft lottery to August 25, with the Draft set for October 15.
Charania added the following in his report:
- June 30 start to in-market training camps
- July 7 travel to Orlando for onsite training camps
- October 18 start to free agency
- Next season’s camps begin on November 10, setting the stage for a December 1 tip-off for the 2020-2021 regular season
Health and safety remain Adam Silver’s top priority. Players and personnel will have limited contact with outsiders. Disney’s facilities will serve as a campus for housing, play, and other necessary amenities. Additionally, Silver notes that the NBA is establishing strict protocols with medical experts.
NBA Raises Questions
The need to prioritize safety creates a question about the NBA’s decision to move forward with 22 teams. While the NBA quickly dismissed a 30-team resumption of a regular-season, owners reportedly suggested a 20-team play-in format. The league also discussed 16 current playoff teams proceeding directly to the postseason.
Six teams outside of the playoff picture joining the 16 top-seeded squads and an estimated 35-50 individuals travel with each organization. So, an additional 300 people could descend on the NBA’s bubble.
Three hundred extra players and staff significantly increase the likelihood of infection. And with reports stating that Silver does not plan on halting play when someone tests positive, an aura of hesitancy hinders me.
However, it is also very possible that the NBA needed 22 teams to meet revenue goals. A three-fourths vote from the Board of Governors necessitated the number.
Either way, this is the first in a series of significant steps needed to resume. Per the league’s statement, they need to agree with The Walt Disney Company over the use of their facilities. Also, the Players Association must approve the restart plan.
Per Wojnarowski, the NBPA has a call set for Friday to approve the proposal.