The NBA is officially back, or at least hoping to be back, after having approved a 22-team format to finish out the season and lead into the playoffs.
After what now amounts to almost 3 months without basketball, the league has finally made a call on how to move forward with finishing it’s suspended season and who will get to do so.
Among all the leagues attempting to rejigger their format and financials, the NBA’s process went most swiftly without any backlash from the NBAPA and players involved, likely because it was near the end of the season as opposed to something like refiguring the entire MLB season ahead.
The 22 teams will be 9 from the Eastern Conference and 13 from the West. The tournament will include 8 games to finish the regular season and allow for teams in contention for the 8 seed in each conference a chance to get in. The games will be played in Orlando at Disney World, somehow? Presumably without fans.
“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season. While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalized with public health officials and medical experts. We also recognize that as we prepare to resume play, our society is reeling from recent tragedies of racial violence and injustice, and we will continue to work closely with our teams and players to use our collective resources and influence to address these issues in very real and concrete ways.”
Adam Silver, elegant and all-inclusive per usual.
As a result of these changes, the draft lottery has also been moved to August 25th with the Draft to October 15th. What this means for the beginning of the 2020-21 season remains unclear, but something like a December 1st start date has been floated around and seems a plausible day to resume after an expedited free agency and off season period.