NBA, Players Officially Agree To Return Starting July 30
A “comprehensive plan” to resume the NBA season on July 30 has been formally agreed to and finalized by the NBA and its players.
In a joint announcement Friday, both sides said they have agreed on the details surrounding scheduling, along with health and safety protocols necessary because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Players are scheduled to begin required workouts at their host team facilities on Wednesday. Teams will begin to report to Florida starting on July 7 with training camps beginning two days later. Under the format previously reported, 22 teams will play eight games apiece to complete the regular season to seed playoff standings for each conference. The games will be selected from the remaining regular-season matchups that were postponed when the season halted on March 12.
The season will resume in a self-contained setting at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida. Players will be housed at three separate hotels on Disney grounds, with all games played on courts in the Arena, Field House and Visa Athletic Center at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Fans will not be permitted when teams resume play.
The NBA and the NBPA also agreed in principle “that the goal of the season restart will be to find tangible and sustainable ways to address racial inequality across the country.” All associated personnel will undergo thorough and routine testing for COVID-19.
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8th Seed In Each Conference Up For Grabs
This scenario offers solid NBA betting opportunities for those who don’t want to wait until live play begins to place their NBA bets.
NBA futures betting for the NBA 2020 Championship has the Los Angeles Lakers as +225 favorites to win at bet365, while the Milwaukee Bucks are close behind at +250. The Clippers (+300), Houston Rockets (+1300) and Philadelphia 76ers (+1800) round out the top five.
The seven teams in each conference with the highest combined winning percentages in the regular season will be the No. 1 to No. 7 seeds, respectively. The eighth-seeded team after the completion of the regular season will automatically clinch that spot if it holds more than a four-game lead over the closest team. If not, the teams in the eighth and ninth spots will compete in a play-in tournament, with the No. 8 team needing to only win one game while the No. 9 team will have to win two.
The race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference appears fairly clear. The Brooklyn Nets own the No. 7 spot, with the “hometown” Orlando Magic a half-game behind at No. 8. The Washington Wizards are 5.5 games back of Orlando with eight games remaining in the regular season.
The NBA Western Conference playoff race has six teams heading to Orlando with a shot at earning the 8th seed. Zion Williamson and the New Orelans Pelicans will bring plenty of star power, along with DeMar DeRozan and the Spurs in pursuit of Ja Morant and the Grizzlies.
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The NBA’s complete game schedule and national television schedules for TNT, ESPN, ABC and NBA TV for the “seeding games,” which will be played July 30 – Aug. 14 to tip off the resumption of the 2019-20 season. pic.twitter.com/QFDr769Jh4— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) June 26, 2020
The first NBA game in more than four months will take place on July 30 when the Utah Jazz face the Portland Trailblazers at 6:30 p.m. That game will be followed at 9 p.m. by a matchup between the Clippers and Lakers. Both of those games will air on TNT. There will be six NBA games on July 31: Magic/Nets at 2:30 p.m., Grizzlies/Blazers at 4 p.m. (NBA TV), Suns/Wizards at 4 p.m., Celtics/Bucks at 6:30 p.m. (ESPN), Kings/Spurs 8 p.m. and Rockets/Mavericks at 9 p.m (ESPN). All times are Eastern.
There will be a maximum of seven games daily during the run up to the playoffs. Tip times will range from 12 p.m. - 9 p.m. Eastern. Two of the courts will be set up for enhanced national TV coverage.
16 NBA Players Test Positive For COVID-19
The news of the agreement and schedule came on the same day the NBA announced that 16 of 302 players tested for coronavirus came back with positive results. Any player who tested positive will remain in self-quarantine until he can be cleared by health officials.
That is a positivity rate of 5.29%, which is significantly lower than the national average of 9% positive from more than 31.28 million tests performed, according to the most-recent CDC stats.
Also Friday, Florida announced a one-day record high of 8,942 positive tests, which was roughly 13% of the test results announced.
Commissioner Adam Silver said the NBA might stop play again if there is a spread of coronavirus among players and associated personnel. He said he would still choose Orlando despite the higher positive numbers in Florida.
"My ultimate conclusion is that we can't outrun the virus, which is why we designed the campus the way we did. It's a closed network, and while it's not impermeable, we're at least protected from what's around us," Silver said.