NBA’s scheduling plans for regular season games, NBA Finals format
The NBA formally approved a plan to resume the 2019-20 season on Thursday, which will bring 22 teams—13 from the West and nine Eastern Conference teams—to Walt Disney World in Orlando.
The teams will play eight regular-season games to determine seeding, then possibly a play-in tournament for the eighth seed. The top 16 teams in both conferences will be joined in Florida by teams within six games of a playoff berth: New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio, Sacramento, Phoenix, and Washington.
While plenty of details remain up in the air, the league did release some notable dates for the next few months. Training will begin in Orlando on July 9, with games set to tip off on July 31, with Oct. 12 as the last possible date for Game 7 of the Finals. The league also set the draft lottery for Aug. 25, and plans to hold the draft on Oct. 15.
According to Woj, the league is planning a 16-day regular season with 5-to-6 games daily. Each team will likely play one back-to-back, with the NBA Finals format expected to include games every other day.
At the moment, the league is aiming for a Oct. 18 start to free agency and Dec. 1 as possible start date for the 2020-21 campaign. Woj also noted that the proposed Nov. 10 date to begin next season’s training camp and the Dec. 1 goal will have to be negotiated with the players union.
“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,” commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “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.”