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NBA Presents Players with a Plan to Restart the Season

Photo by Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

The NBA has told the National Basketball Players Association that it will present a 22-team plan for restarting the season to the league’s board of governors on Thursday, according to sources. The person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Wednesday because the league has not released its proposal publicly.

The plan would have 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams going to Disney in Orlando, and the cutoff being that teams must be within six games of a playoff spot at this point. Playoffs would start in August, and the NBA Finals will likely stretch into October, the person said.

The Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics already have clinched playoff spots. If only eight games are left, that would mean the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Houston Rockets would theoretically have clinched spots as well.

The Dallas Mavericks would be virtually assured of clinching a West spot, holding a seven-game lead over eighth-place Memphis. So that would mean the Grizzlies, Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio, and Phoenix all would have a shot for the No. 8 seed out West. In the East, Washington is six games behind No. 7 Brooklyn and 5-1/2 games behind No. 8 Orlando, so they are within range of making a play-in series happen.

It’s also unclear what will happen to the eight teams that would not be vying for a post-season berth under the proposed format which includes Charlotte, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Cleveland, Minnesota, and Golden State. If the 2020-21 NBA season doesn’t start until December at the earliest, which would seem to be a very real possibility, those teams could go about nine months without playing games and some have expressed concerns over what that will mean for player development.

The teams that will be going to the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex on the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida would play those eight games to determine playoff seeding starting around July 31 before the post-season begins.

According to the sources, the teams will begin training at team sites in July and advance to full training camps in Orlando in July.

Life in the NBA bubble will be governed by a set of safety protocols. While players and coaches will be allowed to golf or eat at outdoor restaurants, they will also need to maintain social distancing, sources told ESPN’s, Ramona Shelburne.

 

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