The NBA is officially back. The league will resume the 2019-20 season on July 31 with all games to be played at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The league had suspended play on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With the return now official, players can continue individual workouts at team facilities. NBA commissioner Adam Silver had announced that players could begin working out at practice facilities on May 8. Those individual workouts will continue and teams will begin their own training camps at their respective practice facilities sometime in July. Teams will report to Orlando sometime in July to finish their training camps and begin play.
The league decided on taking only teams that were currently in playoff position plus any team that was within six games of eighth place in their conference. In the end, that turned out to be 22 teams. The top eight in each conference advance as well as Washington in the East and five teams in the West – Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio, and Phoenix.
The season will resume on July 31 and teams will play an eight-game regular season. At the conclusion of the regular season, there is the potential for a play-in tournament for the eighth seed. If the ninth seed finishes within four games of eighth place, No. 8 and No. 9 will playoff against each other.
The No. 8 seed enters a double-elimination tournament while the No. 9 seed enters a single-elimination tournament. Essentially, the ninth seed has to beat the eighth seed twice to advance to the postseason.
The 22 teams that will head to Orlando will be subject to stringent testing. There will be daily testing for all players and staff. Any player that tests positive will be removed from the rest of the team and quarantined for at least seven days and, most likely 14 days.
Players and coaches will be living on the grounds of the Walt Disney World Resort. They will be permitted to golf and dine at outdoor restaurants, but they are to maintain social distancing protocols. The staff at the resort will not be permitted into players’ rooms and all hallways will be monitored carefully.
The league is negotiating to allow teams to sign replacement players in the event they lose a player to the virus. Eligible replacement players will most likely have to have been signed by an NBA or G-League team or been signed to a training camp contract this season.
The teams that will not report to Orlando are reportedly working on some sort of summer training camp or regional fall play in order to bridge the gap between seasons. The 2020-21 season is expected to start around Christmas of this year.