The NBA’s Return: All the Details We Know So Far on Dates, Format, Play-in, Playoffs, More

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Photo credit: Gene Duncan/Disney via Getty Images

Jun 04, 2020, 02:52 PM EDT

The NBA is one step closer to coming back this summer.

The league’s board of governors voted on Thursday to resume the season in Orlando, according to multiple reports. The NBA Players Association will have a conference call to approve the new format on Friday.

Here are the key points to know:

  • The season will resume on July 31, 2020 and end Oct. 12
  • 22 teams will travel to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, to complete the rest of the 2019-20 season and playoffs
  • The 22 teams will be the 16 currently in the playoffs plus the Pelicans, Blazers, Suns, Kings, Spurs and Wizards
  • There will be 8 more regular season games to determine seeding and spots in a potential play-in situation between the 8- and 9-seeds
  • After the conclusion of the regular season, the top-7 seeds will be set. At that point, the 8-seed and 9-seed from each conference will — if the 9-seed is within four games of the 8-seed — play in a heads-up situation for the final spot. The 9-seed will have to beat the 8-seed twice in a row to win; the 8-seed just has to win one game
  • A fluid date of December 1 has been floated as the start of next season

What’s the Format?

There’s been a lot of questions about whether the NBA would resume its regular season or host a play-in situation for the final spots in the playoffs.

The answer: both.

The league will bring 22 teams to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and will immediately restart the season with eight regular season games. After the conclusion of those eight games, 14 teams — the top-seven seeds in each conference — will be locked in, and the 8- and 9-seeds will compete for the final spot (if the 8-seed is less than four games ahead).

The teams currently in the playoff mix are obviously invited, and rounding out the 22 are the Pelicans, Blazers, Suns, Kings, Spurs and Wizards.

The playoffs will resume after the play-in games (if they happen), although the details have not yet been reported. Given that fact, it can be assumed that it will be a regular playoffs: four best-of-seven game playoff series.

Another thing unclear: 13 West teams and nine East teams will be invited, so it’s unclear whether the 8-seeds can both be from the West or not. Given the reporting, it seems that is likely the case.

What’s the Timing of Everything?

  • June 30: Training Camp
  • July 7: Travel to Orlando
  • July 31: Resume regular season
  • TBD: Start NBA playoffs
  • August 25: NBA Draft Lottery
  • October 12: Last possible date for Finals end
  • October 15: NBA Draft
  • October 18: NBA free agency begins
  • December 1: The 2020-21 season begins (will reportedly remain fluid)

Coronavirus Testing Policy Details

Hanging over the excitement of the NBA’s return is the challenge of keeping players healthy and safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski detailed the current reported policy:

“The NBA is planning to have uniform, daily testing for the coronavirus within the Disney campus environment, sources told ESPN.

If a player tests positive for the virus, the league’s intent would be to remove that player from the team to quarantine and treat individually — and continue to test other team members as they play on, sources said.

Employees at the Disney resort will have to maintain similar protocols. For example, no staff will be allowed into players’ rooms, and hallways will be carefully managed to avoid crowding, sources told Shelburne.”


2020 NBA Championship Betting Odds


Odds via PointsBet, where you can get a $200 sign-up bonus AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.


Team Odds
Milwaukee Bucks +240
Los Angeles Lakers +270
Los Angeles Clippers +340
Houston Rockets +1200
Boston Celtics +2000
Toronto Raptors +2000
Denver Nuggets +2500
Miami Heat +2500
Philadelphia 76ers +2500
Utah Jazz +3000
Dallas Mavericks +3500
Brooklyn Nets +5000
Indiana Pacers +10000
Oklahoma City Thunder +10000
Memphis Grizzlies +20000
New Orleans Pelicans +10000
Portland Trail Blazers +20000
San Antonio Spurs +20000
Orlando Magic +25000
Phoenix Suns +25000
Sacramento Kings +25000
Washington Wizards +25000

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