The National Basketball Association’s (NBA) board of governors has agreed on a competitive format for the restart of its 2019-20 campaign, which will see 22 play-off contending teams compete at Disney World Resort in Florida from 31 July.
The plans are subject to change with the approval by NBA’s board the ‘first formal step among many’ before official strategies can be cemented. This includes finalising the restart plan with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and establishing a rigorous safety program to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Moreover. NBA’s plans are also reliant on signing an agreement with The Walt Disney Company all its teams to play all remaining games and practices in its resort, whilst also housing the 22 sides.
“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” stated NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
“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 finalised with public health officials and medical experts.
“We also recognise 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’s new format will see 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams contest eight games each in order to determine play-offs seedings and officially conclude its regular season. The teams selected include the 16 sides currently occupying the play-offs, along with six teams that are currently six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their conferences.
Additionally, if the restart date is confirmed then the NBA expects to conclude its season no later than 12 October with the play-off finals. The organisation also revealed that it hopes to commence the 2020-21 NBA regular season on 1 December, however, yet again that is a tentative date.
The full list of the 22 teams returning for NBA’s revised regular-season schedule will be:
Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards from the Eastern Conference.
Whilst the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns will be participating from the Western Conference.