The NBA’s plan to resume the 2019-20 season, which was halted on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, was approved by the Board of Governors on Thursday, paving the way for 22 teams to head to Orlando, Florida to resume play at the end of July. There are still hurdles that need to be cleared and specifics that need to be worked out, but the NBA will officially at least attempt to crown a 2020 champion.

The resumption will obviously look quite different from a traditional season, so you might have questions about the current state of the NBA, and what this means for the future of the league. We’ve tried our best to answer them for you using both reporting and information directly from the league. We will keep this up-to-date as new information becomes available.

When will the NBA start playing games again?

On Thursday, June 4, the NBA announced that the tentative start date for the resumption of the 2019-20 season is Friday, July 31, however, there are still other approvals required before locking this date in. The invited teams will start training in Orlando between July 9-11, according to ESPN. The last game of the NBA Finals would be no later than Monday, Oct. 12.

Where will games take place?

The NBA is in negotiations to use the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida as a single site for all games, practices, and housing for the remainder of the 2019-20 season. 

Will the NBA finish the regular season or go straight to the playoffs?

The 22 teams invited to Orlando to resume the season will each play eight “seeding” games selected from their remaining regular-season matchups before a possible play-in tournament, followed by the playoffs.

Which NBA teams are invited to Orlando?

The following teams have been invited to resume the season in Orlando:

Western Conference

Eastern Conference

Will the playoffs be shortened?

No. Following a possible play-in tournament between the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds in either or both conferences, the playoffs will commence with traditional best-of-seven series in each round until a champion is crowned.

Can NBA teams practice right now?

Most NBA team facilities are now open for individual workouts, which follow strict safety protocols and a one-player-to-one-coach system. One week-long team training camps are expected to begin in markets on June 30 before teams begin reporting to Orlando around July 7, according to ESPN.

Will fans be allowed to attend NBA games?

There is no indication that fans will be allowed for the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season. There is also uncertainty as to whether fans will be in seats for the 2020-21 season. Silver said the league is exploring the possibility of bringing back fans in a 15-20 percent capacity during the 2020-21 season.

“Assuming a vaccine isn’t coming any time soon, are there things we can do in our arenas where maybe we can’t have 19,000 people, but maybe we can have 5,000 people? Silver told players on a conference call, via ESPN. “Maybe we can have 8,000 people? Maybe there are protocols allowing for it?”  

How will the NBA test for COVID-19?

The league and the NBPA will develop a series of stringent protocols for testing and safety practices, according to the press release:

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.  

Ideally, players and NBA personnel on-site would be tested frequently, if not daily, to quickly and accurately identify potential carriers of the coronavirus. The NBA is in discussions with national coronavirus testing providers such as BioReference Laboratories, LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics and Vault Health/RUCDR Infinite Biologics at Rutgers to shore up its testing program, The Athletic reports.

What happens if a player tests positive for COVID-19?

Originally, there was concern that a positive test could force a shutdown for the player’s team and any teams he had recently come in contact with. On a conference call with players on May 8, however, Silver said he’s hopeful that any player who tests positive will be quarantined and there won’t be a need to shut down the team or the league. Via ESPN:

“Silver said the NBA’s hope would be that players who’d test positive for the virus wouldn’t require the shutting down of a team or season, but only the removal of a player amid constant testing of those who had come into contact with him.”

Will the 2020 NBA Draft still be held on June 25?

The 2020 NBA Draft has been rescheduled for Oct. 15, with the NBA Draft Lottery being held on Aug. 25, according to ESPN.

What about free agency?

The 2020 free agency period, originally scheduled to begin on June 30 at 6 p.m. ET, will now commence on Oct. 18, according to ESPN.   

What does this mean for next season?

Given that this season may not conclude until Oct. 12, the 2020-21 season will assuredly be delayed. A possible start date for next season is Dec. 1, with training camps beginning around Nov. 10, according to ESPN.

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