Report: NBA to Vote on Finalized Plan for Return on Thursday
The NBA is set to make its decision on a return to play for the 2019-2020 season, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The league's Board of Governors will reportedly vote on a finalized plan this Thursday. It's expected that the group will approve the NBA's model, which will include 22 teams and set a return date for July 31 in Orlando, Florida.
16 of the 22 teams that will be invited are those that currently hold playoff spots, while the other six will be those within six games of the eighth seed in each conference. That means the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns make up the Western Conference group, while the Washington Wizards will be the only additional Eastern Conference team invited.
All teams will play a select number of regular-season games to determine playoff seeding, and teams outside the playoff picture will advance to a play-in tournament to determine the final spot in each conference.
Wojnarowski also added that the last possible day for Game 7 of the NBA Finals will be October 12. The NBA Draft and free agency would begin soon after.
Of course, none of this changes much for the LA Clippers, who currently hold the No. 2 seed out West. The Clippers could, theoretically, jump the Los Angeles Lakers for the top spot, but that seems unlikely.
Instead, the Clippers can use the remaining regular-season contests to get reacquainted and prepare to make a deep run in the postseason. As it stands, LA will meet the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, but the Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets could all end up in that spot as well.
With a return date all but set in stone, NBA fans can finally get excited about seeing their favorite teams take the floor once again. There's no telling how long it will take until things truly return to normal, but there will still be a champion crowned at the end of the unusually long 2019-2020 season.