Report: NBA Approves 22-Team Format, Season to Resume July 31
The NBA is back.
According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the NBA's Board of Governors has approved the proposed 22-team format, paving the way for the 2019-2020 season to resume this summer.
Joining the 16 teams currently locked into playoff spots are the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards.
The plan calls for team training camps to begin on June 30. One week later, on July 7, teams will travel to Orlando, Florida, and continue to practice until regular-season games begin on July 31.
Each team will play eight regular-season games before the postseason begins. Those contests will reportedly be based on each team's schedule before the season was suspended, but with a few amendments.
In short: If a team was scheduled to play one of the excluded teams, that game would be skipped, and the team would face the next invited opponent instead.
That means the LA Clippers could end up with a schedule that includes the Brooklyn Nets (twice), New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings.
The postseason would end no later than October 12, leading directly into the NBA Draft on October 15 and the beginning of free agency on October 18.
Finally, the 2020-2021 NBA season would begin with training camp on November 10, with regular-season games tipping-off on December 1.
It's all a bit complicated and cramped, but these are unique circumstances. By the time the season resumes in July, it will have been nearly five months since play came to a halt on March 11 — essentially a full offseason.
It may be ugly at the beginning, and it's going to be a very different experience for fans and players alike. Ultimately, though, this plan allows for an NBA champion to be crowned this season, and it's never been more likely that the Clippers will be that team.