NBA Set To Approve Return-to-Play Plan
According to sources, the NBA board of governors is set to approve a return-to-play plan during a meeting on Thursday. The league has been working for months to come up with a plan to finish out the season, and they have finally come to an agreement.
Under this proposal, the NBA would invite 22 teams to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. The official start date has yet to be announced, but it has been shared with players and owners.
The vote will take place at 12:30 PM ET on Thursday, and the league is set to make an official announcement at the end of the conference call. The Walt Disney World Resort will become the home for the 22 teams set to finish out the season, and the league has been working with the resort over the last few weeks.
Under this plan, 13 teams from the Western Conference will be invited to Orlando, while just nine teams from the Eastern Conference will be allowed to attend. The playoffs will have just 16 teams in the field, so there will be a battle for the top eight spots in each conference.
To give all teams a chance to make up some ground in the standings, the league will schedule eight regular-season games for each team before the final playoff field is announced. The eight teams that were not included in the plan will now have to wait until the start of the 2020-21 regular season to play games.
Teams can start training camps at their home facilities in July, and players can start to return to their home markets now. A full training camp will take place near the end of July, but that must be done in Orlando.
The NBA and the NBA Players Association are still working out health and safety protocols, but the biggest hurdle has been cleared. The NBA teams will be living in a “bubble” once they relocate to Orlando, and there will be a new set of rules and guidelines that govern players and team staff.
Daily testing for the coronavirus will also be included as a part of this plan, and anyone that is on the Walt Disney Resort will be forced to take the tests. Any player that tests positive would be removed from the team and put in self-quarantine until they are healthy to return.
NBA Finals Set to Take Place in October
The timeline that has been shared with players and league owners has the NBA Finals taking place in October. Game 7 of the 2020 NBA Finals will take place on Oct. 12, if necessary.
The NBA Finals usually wrap up during the first 10 days of June, but they will be played more than four months later this season. This will put the NBA Finals in direct competition with the National Football League.
The National Hockey League could also be finishing up their season at some point in October, and there is a chance that Major League Baseball will be playing as well. The NHL has announced a return to play plan, but MLB has yet to come to a deal.
Normally, the NBA Finals would be held at the two home arenas of the two teams in that series, but that will not be the case in 2020. All of the NBA Finals games will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. ABC and ESPN have exclusive broadcasting rights to the NBA Finals, but it is unclear if the schedule change will conflict with their original schedule.
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