The NBA Board of Governors approved a 22-team plan on Thursday to restart the season in late July in Orlando on the Disney World campus, pending approval from the National Basketball Players Association on Friday.
The move marks a giant leap toward resumed NBA games after COVID-19 fears stopped the league in its tracks shortly before the start of the playoff season.
“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “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.”
The plan calls for each team to play eight games upon return to help determine final playoff standing in the Eastern and Western Conference. A final determination will be made Friday by The National Basketball Players Association.
The NBA also said it is planning to have the draft lottery Aug. 25, the draft on Oct. 15, and start next season on Dec. 1.
If all goes as planned for NBA leadership, teams are forecast to begin arriving at the Disney Wide World of Sports around July 7, permitting clubs and players to a ‘preseason’ matchup of sorts.
While rumors of NBA developments swirled ahead of Thursday’s vote, Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed his hopes of hosting the NBA in Orlando before reporters on Wednesday.
“Let’s just say this: I’m all in from the state’s perspective,” DeSantis told reporters. “I don’t think you can find a better place than Orlando to do this.”
DeSantis said people are “starved for content” in the sports realm and would welcome other leagues as well.
“We’ve told baseball Florida wants to be a part,” DeSantis said. “I don’t know how you’re going to do it but we would love to be a part of the solution to be able to get that sport going again. Obviously we’d love to see Major League Soccer as well. Orlando really can be the epicenter of the come back of professional sports.”
Material from The Associated Press was used in this post.