SALT LAKE CITY — The NBA intends to approve commissioner Adam Silver’s proposal of the NBA resuming play on July 31 in Orlando, with a 22-team format, according to multiple reports.
The news, first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Wednesday, confirms what has trickled out over the last week regarding how the NBA will look when play resumes at Walt Disney World.
The NBA’s board of governors, scheduled to meet Thursday, will vote on the proposal, in which each of the 22 teams will play eight regular-season games. Then, if the ninth seed is more than four games behind the eighth seed, the eighth seed will lock in its playoff spot. If the ninth seed is four games or fewer behind the eighth seed, a play-in tournament will determine the final seed before the playoffs begin.
The play-in tournament will be decided by double-elimination for the eighth seed and single-elimination for ninth.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the 22 teams will be made up of 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern conference teams (the top eight teams in each conference based on current record, plus the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs in the West and the Washington Wizards in the East).
Sources: Joining the 16 current playoff teams in Orlando: New Orleans, Portland, Phoenix, Sacramento and San Antonio in the West and Washington in the East. If the 9th seed is more than 4 games behind the 8th, No. 8 makes playoffs; Fewer than 4 games, a play-in tournament.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 3, 2020
The playoffs will follow the traditional best-of-seven games series model until a champion is crowned, with the last possible date for a Finals Game 7 on Oct. 12.
Additionally, the NBA is planning to hold the draft lottery and combine in August with the NBA draft to follow at an unscheduled date.
Over the next few days, details about testing protocol, precautions, and requirements of the NBA’s players and staff will be decided.
According to The Athletic, some of the expected proposed precautions include players needing to shower in their respective hotels rather than at the arena at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World, bench players would sit in spread-out rows, inactive players would sit in the stands, and no guests allowed until the playoffs.
Players are expected to be allowed a limited number of family members to join them in Orlando once the playoffs begin.
The NBA suspended its season on March 11, following Rudy Gobert’s positive COVID-19 test.