NBA set to approve July return with 22 teams in Orlando: Report
The National Basketball Association appears to be back. The league’s board of governors is gearing up to approve a return-to-play plan on Thursday, according to reports.
The officials will vote on a call at 12:30 p.m. ET with the intention of approving a plan that will see 22 of the NBA’s 30 teams compete in Orlando, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
The competition would run from July 31 to October 12, according to ESPN, as a resumption of the 2019/20 season that was interrupted by the novel coronavirus pandemic in March.
The league has not yet responded to the report.
The 16 teams currently sitting in a playoff position in the league’s standings—eight each from the Eastern and Western conferences—gain an automatic invite to the Orlando competition. Joining them are six others: the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trailblazers, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, and the Washington Wizards.
Each of those 22 teams would then play eight regular-season games for seeding into the playoffs, according to ESPN.
If the plan is approved, the NBA could become the first major American sports league to return to competitive play in the wake of the pandemic. The NHL plans to open training camps no earlier than July 10 but has not set a specific date to resume official competition.
Elsewhere, England’s Premier League announced plans to finish its season beginning on June 17. Germany’s Bundesliga restarted on May 16.