It’s on! Hoops is coming back to the US as the NBA and players show a unified front that should make MLB feel sheepish. The odds were already good that the league’s Board of Governors would approve a plan to see the NBA season finish its run at Disney World in Orlando, and everything is now a go. This is good news for basketball fans everywhere, as it lets them get back to their favorite action. It also shows that, at least in theory, the coronavirus is becoming a thing of the past.
A 22-Team NBA Season At Disney World
The Board of Governors met today to vote on a plan that would see 22 teams make their way to the Sunshine State and the house that Mickey built to finish the regular season, as well as hold a modified version of the NFL Playoffs. As discussed throughout this week, there will be 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams, all housed within the confines of Disney as they compete to determine who will be known as the NBA 2020 Champs in what will be a year that will live on in infamy.
Not everyone involved in the vote believed the proposal was a solid one. The board voted 29-1 to move forward with the season, and the one holdout came from the Portland Trail Blazers, who may have felt like it was getting a raw deal by not allowing all 30 teams to participate in the season’s relaunch.
However, as had already been determined, the eight teams that aren’t included in the games were almost guaranteed to be too far down the ladder to be able to make a solid run for a spot in the playoffs, so there wouldn’t have been much reason for these to have been invited. The Trail Blazers were ninth in the Western Conference when basketball was called off, 21.5 games off the lead.
All NBA players are going to have to be ready to undergo daily testing for the coronavirus while they’re at Disney in Orlando. It may be a nuisance for some, but it’s better than leading to a situation that could cause the season to be halted again. After all, it was the NBA that started the chain reaction that saw all active sports leagues in the US call off their games in March. Any player who tests positive for COVID-19 will be forced into quarantine, but the games will continue.
More Basketball Action On Its Way
To get players back into shape, a training camp will begin on June 30, with NBA players, team personnel and referees making their way to Disney on July 7. Disney has already begun to make arrangements for the massive arrival, and has expected to play host to the league for the past several weeks.
Because there is now a definitive plan to have basketball players back on the court, other activities that were questionable can now move forward, as well. For example, the draft lottery will be held on August 25, leading up to the NBA Draft on October 15. Three days later, the league’s free agency period will begin and, provided everything goes according to plan, the 2020-21 season will start with training camps on November 10. The first games of the new season would then be held on December 1.
All of this, of course, is predicated on the belief that there won’t be any more delays and that government intervention won’t prevent the NBA season from cranking back up at Disney World. It also assumes that there won’t be another round of COVID-19 cases sweeping across the country, an idea that has surfaced from time to time from several health experts. Should everything stay on track, though, basketball is about to get going once again, and Game 7 of the NBA Finals, if needed will be held on October 12.