NBA Approves July 31 Return to Finish the Season

Adrianna Freedman

From Men's Health

Looks like there’s a chance that sports might come back from the coronavirus pandemic quicker than we thought.

On Thursday afternoon, ESPN reported that the NBA Board of Governors met to vote 29-1, giving the league the chance to form into 22 teams that will meet in Orlando, Florida for a redo of the 2019-2020 season that stopped abruptly because of the pandemic. Sources also told the publication that a plan has been in the works for some time, with the National Basketball Player’s Association (NBPA) and officials for the league working together to form a plan that will be discussed at a Friday conference call.

If approved, then the NBA would be able to resume games on July 31—four months after its last game on March 11.

“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver to ESPN. “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.”

Silver also made the point to acknowledge that in the light of the Black Lives Matter protests, the NBA will also be more mindful of racial issues and injustice within the league.

“We also recognize that as we prepare to resume play, our society is reeling from recent tragedies of racial violence and injustice,” he said. “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.”

So what exactly would the format of the season look like, should the new plan be approved? 22 teams would be given the opportunity to play in Orlando from July 31-October 12, hosted by Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. The teams would include thirteen from the western conference, nine from the eastern conference, and eight regular season games would be played per team.

Although it looks like there could be a new season, there are some who are concerned with the exact length of it, as traditionally, the NBA plays from October to June (nine months), and this format would slash the playing time by half. Some people are also concerned that winning a title in 2020 won’t be as significant, due to what has happened and the fact that the 82-game schedule won’t be abided by.

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