NBA Owners Vote To Resume Regular Season In July – Reports

In a 29-1 vote, the NBA’s team owners have voted to resume the league’s regular season, which has been on hold since March due to COVID-19, according to multiple media reports.

The NBA players union still has to sign off, but is expected to endorse the plan. If finalized, the setup would have the season pick up with regular-season games contested by 22 of the league’s 30 teams on July 31 at a single site, ESPN Wide World of Sports, outside of Orlando, FL. An extensive regime of testing and monitoring players would be in effect, with players, coaches and staff confined to a “bubble” environment, where they would sleep and eat when not on the court.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who cited a source in reporting the vote, said teams would begin practicing in their own cities this month before moving to Orlando in July.

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Eight regular-season games to be played by those teams (which have all either secured or are jockeying for playoff spots), with no fans present. The complex is one of many large Disney-owned parks in the Orlando area and will be able to accommodate teams and a large testing apparatus as well as medical and safety procedures.

The playoffs, which usually conclude with the NBA Finals on ABC in June, will extend through the fall, with October 12 the latest possible date of Game 7 of the Finals. The NBA has also set August 25 for the date of its draft lottery and October 15 for the draft, Wojnarowski reported.

In addition to being a perennial top draw in the TV ratings and on social media, the NBA became a symbol of the jolt of COVID-19. At least 10 players tested positive (and since recovered), but a game between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder was canceled just before tipoff once it was clear that players had the disease. The league’s suspension of its season on March 11, followed by the cancellation of NCAA March Madness, sent a clear signal across the U.S. about the severity of the coronavirus outbreak.

The NBA is the most prominent team sport to stage a comeback in the U.S. Internationally, major soccer leagues have resumed. Stateside, the PGA Tour will return next week with fan-free tournaments and major colleges and the NFL have signaled their willingness to move forward with their seasons in the fall. They have said they will be watching the NBA’s progress closely this summer.

TNT has scheduled a one-hour live special episode of Inside the NBA for tonight at 8PM ET. In addition to the league’s restart, the show’s co-hosts will discuss the social-justice landscape and the impact of the George Floyd protests, a major focus for league officials and players over the past 10 days.

WarnerMedia’s TNT and Disney’s ESPN and ABC are two-thirds of the way through a long-term NBA rights deal worth $24 billion.

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