NBA, Thunder to Return July 31


The extension prolongs the NBA's ability to trigger the nuclear option to its economic crisis - terminating the CBA under the force majeure event provision - which it could have done within two months of the March 11 shutdown of the league. When the season resumes, teams will play "seeding games" to determine their position and eligibility for the playoffs - and this year, a new tweak has been added to the proceedings.

The NBA said it is developing a program with public health and infectious disease experts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among players, including testing and safety protocols.

The NBA's board of governors is reportedly set to approve a plan for 22 teams to restart the season in Orlando, Fla., which includes an eight-game regular-season schedule before the playoffs. The players are expected to vote on the plan Friday. The NBA Finals would end no later than October 12.

Most importantly, the NBA proposal, which was approved by the Board of Governors by a vote of 29-1, has the 2020-21 season starting as soon as December 1 - likely leaving less than two months of rest for whichever teams make the NBA Finals.

That leaves nine teams vying for three remaining playoff berths.

If the ninth-place team is within four games of the eighth-place team at the end of regulation games, those two teams will conduct a play-in series for the final berth.

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The NBA joins the National Hockey League and the NFL in articulating a strategy to return to play. They'll be a play-in tournament if the ninth seed is four or fewer games behind the eighth seed at the conclusion of the regular season.

The Nets and the other 21 clubs will begin a weeklong training camp June 30 then continue it in Orlando after July 7.

The playoffs will hold the same format as normal.

The lone dissenter was the Portland Trail Blazers, who according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski voted against "because the franchise believed there were more competitive and innovative formats on the table". However, in a new wrinkle, the league could use a play-in round to finalize the field.

Whether Major League Baseball, which ESPN also airs, will be able to begin its 2020 season is still up in the air.