NBA Owners Approve Plan to Resume Season in Orlando


The NBA's Board of Governors approved a plan Thursday to resume the season in Orlando with a 22-team format when the league is able to return, the league announced Thursday

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the board voted 29–1, with The Athletic's Shams Charania adding Portland was the lone franchise that voted against the 22-team format. The Blazers, according to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, preferred a 20-team return-to-play format as one of the reasons for voting no.

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

The NBA will be instituting the new format at Orlando's Walt Disney World Resort that includes 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams. The top 16 teams in the Eastern and Western conference will be joined by the Pelicans, Spurs, Kings, Suns and Wizards. 

The regular season will resume July 31, with the NBA finals set to occur in early-to-mid October. The postseason will follow its standard best-of-seven format.

The league's participants will take part in eight regular-season games and a possible play-in tournament. 

Per Charania, the NBA's G League is canceling the remainder of its season. The league's regular season, which was suspended on March 11, was set to finish on March 28 ahead of the playoffs. G League players have been paid through the originally scheduled end of the season, which had 17 days canceled, and had their health benefits extended, according to Charania.

The 2020 NBA draft is currently set for October 15 with NBA free agency set to begin October 18. If the 2019-20 season resumes as expected, the 2020-21 regular season would begin December 1. 

According to ESPN, the NBA is planning on having daily testing for the coronavirus within its campus environment. Per ESPN, if a player tests positive for COVID-19, the league is intending to remove the player from the team and treat them individually, while continuing to allow other non-infected players to continue play. 

According to the New York Times's Marc Stein, the NBPA has scheduled a virtual meeting with its membership this Friday afternoon and plans on reviewing the plan. 

On March 11, the NBA suspended its play until further notice following the positive coronavirus test of Jazz center Rudy Gobert. The test result was reported shortly before tip-off of a Jazz-Thunder game in Oklahoma City. 

According to the Associated Press, the list of NBA players who were known to have tested positive for COVID-19 grew to 10 players, though, commissioner Adam Silver said that the actual total was even higher.

The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is more than 250 acres and is home to multiple arenas. In recent years it has hosted the Jr. NBA World Championship, among other events.