The National Basketball Players Association approved on Friday the outline of the NBA’s plan to finish the 2019-20 season in Orlando.
The decision green-lights the return of league play at the Walt Disney World Resort starting July 31, pending details.
“The Board of Player Representatives of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) has approved further negotiations with the NBA on a 22-team return to play scenario to restart the 2019-20 NBA season,” a statement from the NBPA reads.
The statement also notes that the details still need to be hashed out.
“Various details remain to be negotiated and the acceptance of the scenario would still require that all parties reach agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play,” the statement reads.
The decision arrives a day after 29 of 30 NBA teams voted to approve the plan proposed by commissioner Adam Silver. The Portland Trail Blazers were the only team to vote against the proposal. Their objections concerned the details of the plan, not with the decision to resume play.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports that all 28 player representatives on Friday’s call approved the NBA’s plan.
Reported details on NBA’s return
Charania reported several details around the agreement that address coronavirus protocols, crowd noise and a short exhibition season.
The season will continue if a player tests positive for COVID-19. Testing will be conducted daily, and a player who tests positive will be quarantined for a minimum of seven days.
A maximum of 1,600 people will be permitted on campus.
Players will be restricted to having three family members with them at the Orlando campus, with limited exceptions. Players and family must remain within the confines of the campus. Family members will be permitted after the first round of the playoffs.
Teams will play two to three exhibition games before the resumption of the regular season.
Players are expected to see a return to full pay after a 25 percent pay reduction in May in the midst of the COVID-19 shutdown.
The league is considering importing crowd noise provided by video game NBA2K.
There will be two practice courts and weight rooms available.
Next season’s start date still on the table
According to Charania, the NBPA did not approve a Dec. 1 start date for the 2020-21 season, which appears to be one of the “various details” noted in the official NBPA statement.
The NBA halted play on March 11 when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. The plan to resume play will crown a champion in October with a Game 7 of the NBA Finals not later than Oct. 12. The NBA draft is scheduled to take place on Oct. 15, per the new schedule.
The 22-team pool will include the 16 teams already in playoff position plus the Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards. The eight remaining teams that are six games or more outside of the final playoff spot in each conference will not resume play.
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