Ahead of the planned NBA season restart on 31st July, the association’s Board of Directors have approved a competitive format.
The 2019-2020 campaign has been suspended since March due to the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the US.
This approval by the NBA’s main figureheads is the first official step towards bringing the US’ main basketball league back into action.
The NBA’s plans to resume depend on a pending agreement with Walt Disney to use the company’s premises for the remainder of the season.
If all goes as planned, the return of the NBA will begin with 22 teams at the end of July. There would then be a 16-team post-season, with the Finals ending no later than 12th October.
Each team is set to play eight seeded matches, which would be selected from their still-standing regular-season matchups. After this, the seven teams with the best records in the Eastern and Western Conferences will compete in the end-of-season playoffs.
There are no planned changes to NBA playoff rules, so in this respect all will take place the same as in regular seasons.
Should the planned go-ahead date come to fruition next month, the 2020-2021 NBA season is planned to begin in December.
Games and training for all teams would be held at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
A perfect return would be impossible
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke about the season restart and approved tournament format. He said that, in the current climate, it would be impossible to have a return which equalled perfection.
He said that this approval was “a necessary step towards resuming the NBA season”, as well as the following.
“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 finalised with public health officials and medical experts.”