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NBA, players union approve plan to restart 2019-20 season July 31 in Orlando
The NBA and its players are moving closer toward a plan to resume the 2019-20 season, with games tentatively slated to start July 31 in Orlando, Florida.
The players union on Friday voted in favor of continuing negotiations regarding a return to play scenario set forward Thursday by the NBA Board of Governors.
"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,” the players union said in a statement. “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."
All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell represented the Jazz in the players union's vote.
“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,” Utah Jazz executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey said. “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 NBA’s plan would feature 22 of the league’s 30 teams—16 teams (eight per conference) in current playoff positions and six teams that are currently within six games of the eighth seed in their respective conferences. The Utah Jazz currently sit in the fourth seed in the Western Conference standings.
“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “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.”
The remaining games in the 2019-20 campaign would take place at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando.
To finish the season, teams would play eight seeding games. A play-in tournament could take place for the eighth seed in each conference, depending on standings.
Once the 16-team playoff field is set, the NBA plans to use its traditional postseason format: four rounds and best-of-seven series in each round. The NBA Finals would end no later than Oct. 12.
The 22 returning teams for the season restart would be the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards from the Eastern Conference and the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, 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.
With the season extending into October, other dates have been moved as well. The 2020 NBA Draft Lottery would be rescheduled for Aug. 25, the 2020 NBA Draft would be held on Oct. 15 and the 2020-21 NBA regular season would likely begin on Dec. 1, 2020.