After months of speculation and uncertainty, the Hawks' season will officially came to an end Thursday afternoon when the NBA board of governors votes on a proposed return-to-play resolution that includes 22 of the league's 30 teams.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday afternoon that the board "intends to approve" the proposal, which excludes the Hawks, in a conference call scheduled for 12:30 on Wednesday. It has seemed likely for a while that the Hawks wouldn't play again this year after NBA season was suspended on March 11, but that likelihood will now finally become a reality.
The season will resume at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida in late July, per Wojnarowski, and will include the top nine teams from the Eastern Conference and the top 13 from the West -- thereby excluding the Hawks, Knicks, Cavaliers, Pistons, Bulls, Hornets, Warriors, and Timberwolves. Each team will play eight regular-season games, with the possibility for a play-in tournament for the eighth seeds in each conference.
That leaves the 20-47 Hawks with the fourth-best lottery odds (12.5 percent) behind the Warriors, Wolves, and Cavs (14 percent). The date of the lottery has yet to be announced.
Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk and owner Tony Ressler have both expressed a desire to include all 30 NBA teams, and several players have said they want to finish their season, even without a chance of making the playoffs. On Tuesday, head coach Lloyd Pierce expressed to Rachel Nichols on The Jump that "without a doubt" his team wants to keep playing.
"I coach the youngest team in the NBA. The biggest thing we can benefit from is playing basketball," Pierce said. "It hurts our growth, it hurts our product, it hurts our ability to continue the momentum that we need going into next season. I play young guys, I have young guys. They need game experience. we need to play basketball. we want to play basketball."
He added that "whatever the course of action that happens, we'll continue to find ways to get better as an organization with our guys."
Wojnarowski says that players will be allowed to move around within the bubble in Orlando, and has previously reported that players will be tested constantly while on the Disney Campus -- a proposition that will require approximately 15,000 coronavirus tests. The state of Florida reported over 1200 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday -- its highest mark in over a month.