The NBA has confirmed its return and restarting of the season on Thursday. The decision was taken by the league’s Board of Governors who gave a green signal to the 22-team format for returning back on the court. The National Basketball Association will resume its regular season next month at the Disney Campus near Orland, Florida.
The Board voted 29-1 as Portland casted the vote dissenting vote and were in favor of abandoning the current season. A person familiar with the matter on condition of anonymity informed AP about the secretive vote as the league didn’t publicly release the inhouse details. NBA has arranged a meeting on Friday to vote on the reopening plan.
The new settings will see NBA franchises arriving at Disney Campus around July 7 and the 8-game slate arranged by the board will kick off on July 31, 2020 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. All member teams will stay, practice and play under one roof at Disney and the Finals will take place in October.
“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “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.”
The newly formatted eight-game slate will determine the playoff berths and from there the teams will contest within Eastern and Western Conference post for a place in finals.
“While there is still work to be done, we applaud all the effort and collaboration that has gone into finding a safe, competitive format,” Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins said. “It has always been our feeling that sports have the ability to bring people together and we look forward to restarting the NBA season while using that platform to drive meaningful social impact at this period of time.”
The organization though has to work through a number of things including finalizing the specifics at Complex and assessing the cost to benefit ratio of the delayed event. Strict medical protocols are another thing to be discussed and decided in the list of appropriate measures needed to reopen the game.
“The NBA is taking all the appropriate measures, and working tirelessly to provide a safe environment for our team and staff,” the Dallas Mavericks said in statement.
While the G-League has confirmed cancellation of its remaining season on Thursday, NBA has also charted its plans for the ensuing season with the draft lottery rescheduled on Aug 25, 2020, draft set for Oct 15, and Dec 1, will mark the opening night of 2020-2021 NBA edition.
The 22-clubs gathered in the Disney would around 71-75 games – downsized from 85-game slate –between them before entering playoffs. The relegated team will see their seasons end after 64 or 67 games of the regular 2019-20 season. Roughly 15% of the regular season is scaled down by the COVID-19 meaning the players will lose about USD 600mn in salary. The league and the union are yet to work through it.
“There is still much work to be done, but we are excited to be able to return to the court,” Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said.
As per the unfolding of new scheme, the season is over for New York Knicks, Detroit, Atlanta, Minnesota, Chicago, Cleveland, Golden State and Charlotte with Knicks missing the season for the 7th year in a row while Phoenix and Sacramento still have their chances to get a playoff berth and end the draught.
“While we are disappointed for our team and our fans that our season is coming to an end, we understand and accept the league’s plan to move forward with 22 teams,” Timberwolves President Gersson Rosas said. “It is important that we be a good teammate not only to the NBA, but to the other 29 teams to support the efforts to complete this season and prepare for next season in a healthy and safe manner.”