National Basketball Association reportedly eyes July 31 season return, possibly with Pistons

Ross Houston
May 30, 2020

Teams would spend a little over a month in Orlando, with June 21 being the projected date for teams to travel to Central Florida.

Commissioner Adam Silver reportedly informed the Board of Governors that the league is targeting July 31 as the return date for the National Basketball Association season, which was suspended on March 11, sources told The Atlantic.

The NBA has been shutdown since March 11 when Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 causing the league to suspend operations. The league permitted teams to open their practice facilities beginning May 8, while working with teams that were still under stay-at-home orders.

"They flat-out don't want to play", one executive said of teams with no chance to make the playoffs. The four teams just outside of the Western Conference playoffs along with the likes of the Memphis Grizzlies and potentially an Eastern Conference foe or two could figure into this play-in tournament.

Another is 20 teams playing in a group/stage play.

If there are no fans allowed at games or the games are played at a neutral site like the National Hockey League is planning, having a tournament style playoff is a good way to get both diehard and casual fans to tune in for most games.

Given a choice of a play-in tournament to finalise the final play-off teams or a World Cup-type group stage that would take the place of the remainder of the regular season as well as the first round of the playoffs, 75 per cent opted for the play-in event and 25 per cent for the group-stage option.

The NBA and NBPA are also mindful of generating revenue on the resumption of a season, and regular season and play-in games at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports will generate increased money - as opposed to only restarting the season with the playoffs.

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