NBA return plan set to be approved today, play will start July 31 at Disney

The NBA Board of Governors is expected to approve a plan to resume play on Thursday afternoon.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN summarized the latest plan for the league to invite 22 teams, 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams, to Orlando to compete in eight regular-season games.

Those games will determine the seeding for the playoffs.

The games are scheduled to start at Disney World on July 31 with Game 7 of the NBA Finals being played on Oct. 12.

These teams are a lock:

East: Bucks, Raptors, Celtics, Heat, Pacers, Sixers

West: Lakers, Clippers, Nuggets, Jazz, Thunder, Rockets

Nikola Vucevic photo/Michael Tipton

The Ringer list some of the biggest back stories and conspiracy theories of the return:

“The long-running joke (conspiracy theory?) throughout the NBA’s complicated quest to return has been that the league will do whatever it takes to include Zion.,” explaining that Williamson “appeared dominant from the jump, and though he was also slightly raw and reckless,” but could be part of the league’s future identity.

“Adam Silver will finally get his play-in tournament—well, maybe. The NBA will reportedly add an extra series between the ninth- and eighth-place teams in each conference, but only if those two teams are within at least four games of each other,” wrote Justin Verrier, noting that move for a “World Cup–style pool play.”

“The expression ‘Basketball Never Stops’ wasn’t meant to be about scheduling, but it is a literal representation of the usual NBA calendar,” and this year, the phrase could be literal with a normal October season start.

If all goes to plan, the 2019-20 season will conclude on October 12 at the latest. If the 2020-21 season begins around Christmas, like the board of governors are considering, then the offseason will shrink to two and a half months. In that time, the NBA will have to squeeze in:

  1. The draft. That’s more than a one-evening event. Teams will need to hold workouts and interviews with prospects, in addition to the NBA’s official combine.
  2. Free agency. Thanks to an uptick in some highly legal and totally acceptable and not-at-all-wrong tampering—the pre-agency, if you will—we’ve recently seen many high-profile free agents announce their decisions as soon as the moratorium period opens. The recent gap in play might’ve sped those decisions up; as we all know, months of quarantine gives one plenty of time to think. Some may need a solid resolution of the season first. Either way, the draft and free agency are the most important events of the summer.
  3. Awards. We still need an MVP, a Most Improved Player, a Defensive Player of the Year, and a Sixth Man of the Year, even if they come with enormous asterisks, like every other 2019-20 accomplishment.
  4. Summer league. There are a number of undecided technicalities here: Should the NBA host its annual summer league at all? Will it need to be played at a bubble site again? Last year, the Las Vegas summer league lasted 11 days. Should non-rookie players who already have a spot with their teams attend?
  5. Training camp.
  6. Preseason. The same questions for summer league apply. How long will a bubble site be necessary?

Check out more at The Ringer, HERE

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