NBA owners expected to approve Orlando restart plan; July 31 target date to return



May 29 (UPI) — NBA owners on Thursday are expected to formally approve league commissioner Adam Silver‘s proposal on a format to restart the 2019-20 season at the end of July in Orlando, Fla.

League sources told ESPN and The Athletic on Friday that the league has been looking at multiple return-to-play plans, but there is growing support among NBA owners to resume the season with 22 teams at Disney‘s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. According to The Athletic, Silver and the league office informed owners that July 31 is the target date for a return to competition.

The NBA needs three-fourths of owners to approve the plan, and a majority of owners expressed a desire to do that on a conference call Friday, according to ESPN.

The league, which is considering four different formats, has yet to endorse a restart plan. According to ESPN, only one of the four scenarios — bringing back all 30 teams — is no longer being considered.

The 22-team format likely would consist of regular-season contests and play-in games to determine playoff berths in both the Eastern and Western Conferences, according to ESPN. It would include teams that are currently within six games of the final spots in each conference.

Under the 22-team proposal, the New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs would make it to Orlando, with the Washington Wizards joining them as the only team within six games of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

The other two ideas being discussed are 16 teams advancing directly to the playoffs and 20 teams competing in group play before moving to postseason competition. According to The Athletic, the 20-team proposal remains alive, and that format would include the Pelicans, Trail Blazers, Spurs and Kings.

The NBA suspended its season in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.



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