The NBA Board of Governors voted 29-1 Thursday to bring back their season, with training camp beginning June 30 and the season reopener July 31 with a 22-team format in Orlando, the league announced.
“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” commissioner Adam Silver said in a press release. “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. We also recognize that as we prepare to resume play, 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 players association is expected to rubber-stamp the decision Friday, but how the league will sort out coronavirus testing has not been established.
“‘I’m ready to go,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told The Post. “We have more work to do, because safety will always be our primary focus, but it’s going to be fun to have the guys back on the court.”
The Nets and the other 21 clubs will begin training camp for a week on June 30 then continue it in Orlando after July 7.
The additional six teams beyond the playoff quaifiers based on the March 11 standings are the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs, Suns and Wizards. That’s five teams from the West and one from the East — based on the formula of teams having to be within six games of a playoff spot. It also worked out those teams have the league’s 22 best records.
The Blazers, ninth in the West, were the lone dissenting vote — they pushed for just 20 teams, according to a source.
After eight regular-season games called “seeding games,’’ there will be a play-in event between the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds in each conference — but only if the ninth seed is within four games of the playoff spot.
The NBA Finals could conclude as late as Oct. 12, with training camp for next season not commencing until Nov. 10, according to the NBA. The season opener for 2020-21 would “likely’’ be Dec. 1, the NBA said.
Teams will be secluded in a bubble atmosphere at Disney World with a series of protocols.
The NBA statement read: “The NBA and the NBPA are working with infectious disease specialists, public health experts and government officials to establish a rigorous program to prevent and mitigate the risk related to COVID-19, including a regular testing protocol and stringent safety practices.”
As previously reported, the Knicks won’t be part of the Disney World fun and can embark on a coaching search, with Tom Thibodeau penciled in as favorite. The Knicks have always been ambivalent about a restart with their record finishing at 21-45 — officially now seven straight seasons out of the playoffs.
The Nets, seventh in the East, will partake in the eight-game regular season that will be followed by a potential play-in series then the playoffs.
One report stated the 2021 Finals would be in July, so as to ensure NBA players would be available for the postponed Tokyo Olympics, which are scheduled to begin late that month.
The NBA was the first sports league in America to shut down and now is ready to officially be the first up and running.There were doubters in March that the NBA would play again, with Jeff Van Gundy among those predicting the season was over.