NBA locks in return, sets date for next season
The NBA's board of governors approved a return-to-play plan, paving the way for the league to resume in Florida following a three-month coronavirus shutdown.
The NBA said a proposal put to the league's board which will see 22 teams based at a single location had passed comfortably.
Twenty-nine teams voted in favour of the return-to-play plan, with Portland the lone vote against, according to reports.
Stream over 50 sports on-demand with KAYO SPORTS on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Just $25/month, no lock-in contract. Get your 14-day free trial and start streaming instantly >
Under the NBA's proposals, the league would resume on July 31 with 22 teams based at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando to minimise the threat of COVID-19. Games will be played without spectators.
Playoffs would take place in August, with the NBA Finals set to be completed by October 12.
The league has also pencilled in a provisional December 1 start date for the 2020-2021 season.
"The Board's approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement following the vote.
"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 finalised with public health officials and medical experts."
The NBA Players Association must sign off on the restart plan for it to take effect. The NBAPA is expected to vote on the plan during a conference call set for Saturday (EST).
The NBA suspended its season on March 11 as the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, leaving professional sport in North America at a standstill.
Sixteen teams occupying the playoff berths in the Western and Eastern Conferences will be joined by six more teams to determine the final playoff line-up.
Each of the 22 teams will play eight regular-season games for seeding purposes for the postseason.
The league plans for teams to start training camps in their home cities on June 30 before travelling to Orlando on July 7.
The league wants to have daily testing and if a player tests positive he would be isolated and quarantined.
The others would carry on playing while still being tested on a daily basis.
Originally published as NBA locks in return, sets date for next season