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The NBA returns. The league will resume on July 31 with 22 teams entering a “bubble” in Orlando, playing eight regular season games before the playoffs. If the ninth seed has four games or less behind the eighth seed, there will be a play-in tournament.
This is possible in both conferences, with the Washington Wizards behind the only Eastern Conference non-qualifying team returning.
All this has been reported by the incomparable Adrian Wojnarowski. It is the subject of a meeting to be held later today (Thursday), but it is expected that the following will be confirmed…
- 22 NBA teams back, all 16 in playoffs plus Kings, Suns, Spurs, Pelicans, Blazers and Wizards
- The League will operate in a “bubble” at the Walt Disney World Resort
- Players and staff can use outdoor restaurants and golf courses while maintaining social distance
- Eight regular season games to be played by each team against others over the course of the 22 – scheduled to be confirmed
- If the eighth seeded have more than four games to go, they will go straight to the playoffs. Otherwise, there will be a play-in tournament.
- Uniform daily tests will take place throughout the league, if anyone is positive they will be removed and quarantined separately while matches continue
This is a major change from the usual NBA trip. Players are used to room service, but no staff will be allowed in their rooms. Social distancing guidelines should be followed at all times.
With almost two months to go before the reboot is scheduled, and then an eight-game regular season series to pick up the pace of competitive basketball, the NBA offers players a lot more preparation time than other leagues. This, again, reflects cooperation within the league and the important role that the Players’ Association plays in decision-making.