NBA’s return set for Disney World, games start on July 31

The NBA board of governors voted Thursday to approve a 22-team format to restart the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Fla., the league announced.

Three-fourths of the 30 NBA teams must ratify the proposal.

The new plan would see 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams play eight “seeding” games to determine seeds in the playoffs.

Teams would arrive at the Disney campus in Orlando around July 7 and play an eight-game slate of games starting July 31 at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex.

All teams will stay, practice and play at Disney and the NBA Finals, which would have started Thursday if not for the coronavirus pandemic that caused the NBA to suspend its season on March 11, will likely stretch into October.

In a statement addressing the plan to resume the season, league commissioner Adam Silver said:

“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season. While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalized with public health officials and medical experts.  We also recognize that as we prepare to resume play, our society is reeling from recent tragedies of racial violence and injustice, and we will continue to work closely with our teams and players to use our collective resources and influence to address these issues in very real and concrete ways.”

In addition to voting on the resumption of the season, the call was also used to move the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery to Aug. 25 and NBA Draft to Oct. 15, which would come three days after the potential Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

NOTE: The teams must still vote on the plan, but there is no reason to believe that vote will fail.

LeBron James will be playing basketball in Orlando as the NBA should be set to head to Disney World photo/screenshot of game coverage

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