The 2019-20 NBA season is back on.
The NBA Board of Governors approved a plan allowing the season to resume at Walt Disney World in Orlando under a 22-team format, league commissioner Adam Silver confirmed Thursday.
The plan passed by a 29-1 vote among teams, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania, who reported the Portland Trail Blazers were the lone dissenters.
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“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” Silver in a statement. “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.”
Here are some notable details about the restart plan, per the NBA:
- The proposed start date is July 31st.
- The 22 teams will include the 16 clubs currently in a playoff spot -- eight from the Eastern Conference and eight from the Western Conference -- and six additional teams within six games of the No. 9 seed in their respective conference.
Those teams are the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns in the West and the Washington Wizards in the East.
- Each team will play eight "seeding games" that will determine playoff seeding in each conference. Those games will be selected from each team's remaining regular-season matchups.
While the league hasn't confirmed the schedule of those games, the Boston Celtics could be looking at an eight-game slate against the Milwaukee Bucks, Wizards, Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets, Wizards, Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies and Miami Heat.
The Celtics currently are guaranteed a playoff spot as the No. 3 seed in the East. They're three games back of the No. 2 seed Raptors and 2.5 games ahead of the No. 4 seed Heat, so their seeding could change in that eight-game span.
These details all assume the league can create a safe playing environment amid the coronavirus pandemic. But the main takeaway is an exciting one: Basketball is back!