The NBA is officially back. On Thursday, the league board of governors voted Thursday to approve a 22-team restart to the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Florida. ESPN reported the vote was 29-1, with the only team voting against the proposal was the Portland Trail Blazers. The season has been suspended since March 11 when Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement once the vote was final. "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." Silver also mentioned the ongoing protests and riots going in the country. He said "our society is reeling from recent tragedies of racial violence and injustice, and we will continue to work closely with our teams and players to use our collective resources and influence to address these issues in very real and concrete ways."
The season will likely start on July 31 and will end on October 12. All the games will be played at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida and the 22 teams returning will be 13 teams from the Western Conference and nine from the Eastern Conference. Eight regular-season games will be played by every team with a possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed and playoffs. The top 16 teams in the Eastern in the Western Conference will be joined by the New Orleans Pelicans, Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards as they are six games within eight place of the two conferences.
If there's a play-in tournament, it will consist of the No. 8 and No. 9 teams. This will happen if the ninth seed is within four games of the eighth seed, which would mean the No. 9 seed would have to beat the No. 8 seed twice to clinch a playoff spot. The No. 8 seed would just have to win one of the two games.
If everything stays on schedule, teams will start training on July 9-11. While the season is being played the NBA Draft Lottery will take place on Aug. 25, the NBA Draft will be held on Oct. 15 and the start of the 2020-2021 season will likely be on Dec. 1.