NBA set to make July 31 targeted return date for season

Adam Silver NBA
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The NBA’s Board of Governors is set to vote on Thursday to make July 31 their target return date to finish the 2019-20 season.

How they will return remains a mystery.

As of now, the NBA is expected to bring 20-22 teams to Orlando for a single location to finish the season. The bubble would allow the league to control testing, while providing a safe environment for the teams to finish the season.

The NBA’s Board of Governors is expected to vote on Thursday as well to choose the returning format with a handful of options being mentioned.

To return to play, the league needs three-fourths approval and the owners appears to be ready to return to play. With television contracts on the line, teams are eager to complete those so the financial loss does not grow bigger than already anticipated.

There are four ideas currently, with a 22-team idea the front runner. Bringing back all 30 teams currently seems to be dead in the water.

A 22-team format would include teams that are currently within six games of the final playoff spots in each conferences. So, New Orleans, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento and San Antonio would head to Orlando and Washington in the east.

A majority of the NBA general managers would like the league head straight for the playoffs, meaning those teams who are in their respected eight playoff seeds would advance to the playoffs and the league would accept the financial losses for not completing any of their television contracts, which most require reaching 70 or 72 games.

There is also talk of putting in a World Cup style format, where 20 teams would be split into five different groups, let those teams play in groups and the winner and runner-up advance through to the knock-out round. Those players who play for international teams would be familiar with the format as FIBA and the Olympics have the same format.

Those same GMs expressed approval in the idea of adding two-way players to the playoff rosters. By the current standards, Lu Dort would not be eligible for the playoffs since he is only a two-way player.

By the current suggestions of starting the season on July 31, this gives the league two months to finish the regular season and the playoffs, with the season potentially wrapping up by Oct. 1.

Then, the season would push through and re-start on Christmas.

For now, all of this is expectation and conjecture. Nothing is finalized. What we do know is we want basketball back.

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