SALT LAKE CITY — The NBA’s plan to return continues to move forward.
The National Basketball Players Association Friday approved the league’s proposed 22-team format to resume the 2019-20 season contingent on details that will be ironed out in the coming weeks. The Athletic’s Shams Charania and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski were the first to report the NBPA’s approval.
“The Board of Player Representatives of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) has approved further negotiations with the NBA on a 22-team return to play scenario to restart the 2019-20 NBA season. Various details remain to be negotiated and the acceptance of the scenario would still require that all parties reach agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play,” the NBPA said in a statement.
Sources: The NBPA’s player representatives approved the NBA’s 22-team format to complete the 2019-2020 season.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 5, 2020
“I would like to thank Commissioner Silver, the NBA Board of Governors and the players for their willingness and commitment to finish the 2019-20 NBA season,” Dennis Lindsey, Utah Jazz executive vice president of basketball operations, said in a statement. “While our society faces important issues that certainly eclipse basketball, the entire Jazz organization looks forward to getting back on the court and continuing its playoff push. We have full confidence that the league office, in collaboration with infectious disease specialists, public health experts and government officials, will take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the players and on-site staff. While we regret not playing in front of our tremendous fans, we are grateful for their loyal support and know they will be behind us.”
The NBPA had 28 player representatives on the conference call Friday, each of which voted to pass the proposed plan, according to Charania.
Wojnarowski reported that while the two sides “will work through a number of details in the next week,” they’re “ready” to make it happen.
Among the details discussed in Friday’s meeting were health and safety precautions and guidelines that include the league conducting coronavirus testing every night in Orlando, a minimum seven days quarantine for a player if positive, a plan to keep 1,600 people in the Orlando bubble at any given time with player families (three members at a time) allowed to arrive after the first-round of playoffs, according to reports.
Many of the precautionary and tertiary items discussed by the league office and NBPA on Friday could possibly change over the next few weeks. For now, according to The Athletic and ESPN, players expect that they will have two courts available for 3-hour practice windows, play two or three exhibition games before official games begin, and continue to negotiate dates related to the beginning of the 2020-21 season.
The planned format to resume the season means that 22 teams will head to Walt Disney World in Orlando.
The top eight teams in each conference, along with the teams that were within six games of the eighth seed will take part in what the NBA is calling the “competitive format plan.”
The plan includes each team playing eight regular-season games, called “seeding games.” If, after those games, the ninth seed in either conference is four or fewer games behind the eighth seed, there will be a play-in tournament for the playoffs in which the eighth seed will need to win once to advance and the ninth seed will need to win twice in order to take over the eighth seed and continue on.
The playoffs will be played out as they traditionally have, with four rounds of best-of-seven series until the 2020 NBA championship team is crowned.
The seeding games schedule will be selected from the remaining games a team had left during the original regular-season schedule.
The 22 teams resuming the 2019-20 season are the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns from the Western Conference and the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards from the Eastern Conference.