The NBA and the players’ association finalized “a comprehensive plan” for the scheduled July 30 restart of the 2019-20 season, the league announced Friday. Many of the details had been widely reported in recent weeks, including the single-site location at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, the 113-page health and safety protocol, and the collective goal of combating systemic racism and promoting social justice.
As expected, the league will host 22 teams — the 16 currently in playoff position, plus the six others within six games of eighth place — for eight more regular-season seeding games. If four games or fewer separate the eighth- and ninth-place teams in either conference, the teams will compete in a head-to-head play-in series. The ninth-place team would have to win two straight games in order to unseat the eighth seed.
“We have worked together with the players’ association to establish a restart plan that prioritizes health and safety, preserves competitive fairness and provides a platform to address social justice issues,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “We are grateful to our longtime collaborator Disney for its role in playing host and making this return to play possible, and we also thank the public health officials and infectious disease specialists who helped guide the creation of comprehensive medical protocols and protections.”
Playoff tiebreakers will follow the traditional procedure, with winning percentage serving as the primary determining factor. The 16-team playoffs will be played in full, with four rounds of best-of-seven series.
The Finals will conclude no later than Oct. 13.
Games will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex’s Arena, Field House and Visa Athletic Center. The complete eight-game regular-season schedule is slated to be released later on Friday.
The NBA and its players’ union remain committed to continue engaging in discussions on how best the league can combat racial injustice, according to the league’s press release. Those conversations have included “strategies to increase Black representation across the NBA and its teams, ensure greater inclusion of Black-owned and operated businesses across NBA business activities, and form an NBA foundation to expand educational and economic development opportunities across the Black community.”
“Our platform in Orlando presents a unique opportunity to extend the ongoing fight against systemic racism and police brutality in this country,” National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said in a statement. “We will continue to work with our players and the league to develop specific plans in Orlando as well as long-term initiatives to bring about real change on these issues.”
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