THE NBA HAS announced its return, 85 days after suspending the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday, the NBA’s board of governors overwhelmingly approved a proposal for 22 teams to return to play, starting July 31 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
As players rejoin their teams and prepare to trek to Florida, here is everything known about the plans, everything yet to be resolved and the challenges that must be sorted out next.
Before the NBA can come back, teams must reassemble in their home markets. That means bringing back players who left for their hometowns — or, in some cases, home countries — to wait for the league to sort out its plans rather than stay in-market indefinitely. Players who return from overseas are likely to be subject to a two-week quarantine upon arrival, under current federal rules.
Teams will continue to hold individual workouts in their facilities. A training camp will start June 30 and last a week. All teams will fly to Orlando on July 7, three weeks before the restart of the season. They will likely have to quarantine for some period; Florida law requires people flying in from some states, including New York, to quarantine for 14 days.
There are plans to play some exhibition games, which may end up as scrimmages, among teams before the games begin. That is still in the planning stages.
Have the players signed off on the plan?
The union representatives from all 22 teams will meet Friday to vote on the proposal. Their approval is all but a formality, as NBA commissioner Adam Silver has kept the players involved from the beginning.
Why did the NBA settle on 22 teams?
If the league restarted with only 16 teams, it would have been among the safest and quickest ways to return to basketball and declare a 2020 champion. But those weren’t the only factors. ~inline1~
The total of 22 — the 16 teams in playoff position plus those within six games of each No. 8 seed — allows teams to ramp up with regular-season games before the playoffs. The league used the historical context of late-season playoff runs as a guide for how many teams to include. That said, it was a largely invented metric. – SOURCE: ESPN