The NBA is finalizing details of a plan which is expected to be approved by the league’s Board of Governors on Thursday, paving the way for a return from the coronavirus shutdown.
The board is poised to give the green light to commissioner Adam Silver’s return of basketball which would begin July 31 with a 22-team format, and end in mid-October with a champion being crowned, ESPN reported.
The plan requires support from three quarters of the league’s 30 teams in order to be approved.
The NBA suspended its season on March 11 because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Nets and Orlando Magic currently hold the playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
The Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies occupy the postseason positions in the Western Conference.
Under the plan, each of the 22 teams will play eight regular-season games for seeding purposes for the postseason.
The 16 teams currently in the playoff picture will be joined by the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference.
In the East, the Washington Wizards are also included.
All games are expected to be within the confines of Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando Florida, with all teams remaining on site to minimise risk of COVID-19 outbreaks.
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.
The NBA is planning to have uniform, daily testing for the coronavirus within the Disney campus environment, sources told ESPN. ESPN is owned by The Walt Disney Company.
If a player tests positive for the virus, the league’s intent would be to remove that player from the team to quarantine and treat individually — and continue to test other team members as they play on, sources said.
Employees at the Disney resort will have to maintain similar protocols. For example, no staff will be allowed into players’ rooms, and hallways will be carefully managed to avoid crowding, sources told Shelburne.
Weird, but the NBA had played the bulk of its season anyway, and the playoffs are always a different thing entirely. I just hope those employees at the Disney resort had someone thinking about their welfare as this deal was being hammered out. The Chron has more.
And then there’s MLB:
Major League Baseball has rejected the players’ offer for a 114-game regular season with no additional salary cuts and told the union it did not plan to make a counterproposal, sources confirmed to ESPN.
Players made their proposal Sunday, up from an 82-game regular season in management’s offer last week. Opening Day would be June 30, and the regular season would end Oct. 31, nearly five weeks after the Sept. 27 conclusion that MLB’s proposal stuck to from the season’s original schedule.
MLB told the union it had no interest in extending the season into November, when it fears a second wave of the coronavirus could disrupt the postseason and jeopardize $787 million in broadcast revenue.
While management has suggested it could play a short regular season of about 50 games with no more salary reductions, it has not formally proposed that concept. Earlier this week, multiple players told ESPN that they would not abide a shorter schedule, with one saying, “We want to play more games, and they want to play less. We want more baseball.”
As I’ve said, just with the pro rata salary, there’s no duty to bargain on the March agreement, including the length schedule/start date. MLBPA needs to protect the integrity of player contract values, so shorter season means less pay. Question becomes, at what level is risk 1/
— (((Eugene Freedman))) (@EugeneFreedman) 1:40 PM – 03 June 2020
Basically, it looks like the sides have agreed to the March deal, and now need to work out the safety and testing details, plus what to do if a player wants to opt out. Maybe the NBA getting set to start at the end of July will inspire them to agree on some version of their July 4 Opening Day season. Fingers crossed. The Chron has more.