NBA approves 22-team return in Orlando starting July 31

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersIn an interview on TNT on Thursday night, Silver outlined some of the precautions the league plans to take in order to get back on the court to finish the season — including potentially barring some coaches from being on the sideline during games.“We’ve learned a lot more about the virus since we shut down in March,” Silver said in the televised appearance. And the data is demonstrating that, for the most part — there are exceptions — that healthy young people are the least vulnerable. But there are also people involved in this league, particularly some of the coaches who are obviously older people, and we also know people at any age with underlying conditions are most vulnerable.“So we’re gonna have to work through protocols that maybe, certain coaches, may not be able to the bench coach. They may have to retain social distancing protocols, and maybe they can be in the front of a locker room … but when it comes to actual play, we’re not gonna want them that close to players, in order to protect them. So those are all issues were continuing to work through.”Among the NBA’s head coaches, the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich is 71, the Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni is 69 and the Pelicans’ Alvin Gentry is 65 years old. On the Lakers’ coaching staff, assistant Lionel Hollins is 66. For the Clippers, Armond Hill is 67. According to the Center for Disease Control, people who are 65 or older are a higher risk for severe illness if they contract COVID-19.On Thursday, Florida’s Department of Health confirmed 1,419 additional cases of COVID-19 – the largest daily total of newly confirmed cases since daily updates began in March. The NBA said it and the players’ association are working with infectious disease specialists, public health experts and government officials to establish a rigorous program to prevent and mitigate the risk related to COVID-19, including a regular testing protocol and stringent safety practices that Silver said Thursday evening will include playing games without fans in the central location where players will be tested daily.“We’re working through the logistics with the players,” Silver said. “But … other than the time when the players are face to face on the court … the other times will be retaining a certain social distancing protocols.”Further adding to the complexity fo the comeback is that news of the league’s latest step toward playing again comes in the midst of the international outcry sparked by the police killing of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis. Silver suggested that the NBA could take a leadership role in helping to improve some of the racial issues that have boiled to the surface in recent days.“We are such a unique institution,” Silver said Thursday evening on TNT. “I think ultimately, we may be in a position to have more of an impact on this issue than almost any other organization in the world. When you think about the players, coaches, former players … including our ownership now withing that group, you have some of the most well-known people of color in the entire world.”There was some mixed social media reaction from current players on the proposal to play ball again when the nation is in the throes of protest.New Orleans guard Josh Hart, a former Laker, suggested Thursday the game could help unite people: “There’s so much going on in this country. Hope basketball can help bring people together and help contribute to the healing process.”Patrick Beverley expressed less certainty. The Clippers’ hyper-competitive guard tweeted Wednesday that with “Everything going on right NOW (basketball) is NOT IMPORTANT.”The Lakers and Clippers last played March 10. The Lakers lost 104-102 to the Brooklyn Nets at home and the Clippers beat the Warriors 131-107 in San Francisco, leaving off with the Lakers (49-14) leading the Western Conference and the Clippers (44-20) in second place.The plan approved by the board Thursday would allow them to continue their title quests in a format that features the 22 teams with the best records, or the 16 teams (eight per conference) in current playoff positions and the six teams that currently are six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their respective conferences.The season restart would begin with eight “seeding games” for each returning team, with the possibility of a play-in tournament for the eighth and final playoff seed in each conference depending on combined records across regular-season games and seeding games.Once the 16-team playoff field is set, the NBA Playoffs would proceed in a traditional conference-based format with four rounds and best-of-seven series in each round.The NBA Finals would end no later than Oct. 12.Training camp ahead of the restart would tip off July 9-11, Wojnarowski reported, with a July 7 date scheduled for travel to Orlando, according to Charania.Additionally, the league announced that, as tentatively scheduled, after the season resumes July 31, the 2020 draft lottery would be rescheduled for Aug. 25, the 2020 draft would be slated for Oct. 15.The NBA then would aim to open the 2020-21 regular season Dec. 1.And, according to ESPN, free agency could begin Oct. 18 with training camps starting Nov. 10.Also Thursday, G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim announced that the remainder of that league’s 2019-20 season — which was suspended March 12 — was canceled. Under normal circumstances, it would have concluded March 28.Charania reported that the G League extended health benefits and paid all of its players through what was supposed to have been the end of the season.IMPORTANT DATESJuly 9-11: Training campJuly 31-Oct. 12: 2019-20 seasonAug. 25: Draft lotteryOct. 15: NBA draftOct. 18: Free agencyNov. 10: 2020-21 training campDec. 1: 2020-21 season start(via Adrian Wojnarowski/NBA)center_img The NBA’s board of governors voted Thursday to approve the league’s proposal for a 22-team format to restart the season in Orlando, Florida, on July 31, the league said in a statement. Portland was the only team of 30 to vote against the plan, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.The NBA announced that the board’s approval marks the first major formal step required to resume the season after a hiatus that began when play was abruptly suspended March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic.In a conference call Thursday, owners voted on the plan put forth by Commissioner Adam Silver and the league’s advisory/finance committee to play out the season entirely at the Walt Disney World Resort.The league said it’s now is working to finalize a comprehensive, complex restart plan with the National Basketball Players Association, with representatives planning to hold a conference call Friday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.last_img