The NBA season restart has edged closer to reality after its Board of Directors approved the tournament’s format.
Top-level basketball in the US has been out-of-play since March 11th due to the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The 2019-2020 campaign is scheduled to conclude in October, with the 2020-2021 season commencing before the end of this year.
All of the remaining fixtures for this season would take place in Florida, if a deal is struck with Walt Disney for use of the company’s property.
What will the NBA season restart look like?
Should all go as planned, the current NBA campaign will resume on July 31st. 22 teams will take part, split into the Eastern and Western Conferences.
If the green light is given, the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando will be used for all games, practices and housing for the rest of this season.
Each team will play eight seeded games, which will be determined by the remaining matchups they have for this season. Once these matches are completed, the teams with the seven best records from each conference will compete in the end-of-season playoffs.
As far as the playoffs are concerned, there would be no rule changes compared to a normal season.
The Finals are set to head into October, with the latest proposed date for the season conclusion being the 12th of that month.
Should the current campaign conclude when it’s expected to do so, the 2020-2021 season will begin on December 1st.
On its official website, the NBA said that there are still some issues that are being discussed.
The NBA draft and draft lottery
If the tentative NBA season restart date of July 31st becomes a reality, the NBA Draft Lottery will be held on August 25th.
In this scenario, the NBA Draft itself would take place on October 15th.
Hard for a perfect return to take place, but returning full stop is vital
Assocring to ESPN, club owners voted to restart the NBA season pretty convincingly, with 29 saying yes. Only the Portland Trail Blazers objected to the proposal.
The current season will feature 1,059 games under the suggested circumstances, with 171 matches being cancelled. Across the NBA, this could cost players up to $600 million in their salary.
It’s expected that teams will be able to travel to Walt Disney World and prepare for the season restart from July 7th. Prior to this, they should be able to open training camps later in June.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke about the return of the NBA campaign. He mentioned that these are challenging times, but it’s important for the season to get up-and-running again.
“The board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season.
“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.”
Sports bettors in the US have been making do with virtual sports since real events were suspended, along with the return of NASCAR last month.