After a hiatus of more than two months, the NBA has reportedly set July 31 as a target date for resuming their season.
On March 11, when Rudy Gobert’s positive coronavirus test was announced and the NBA season was formally suspended, everything was up in the air. Over the past 10 weeks, we’ve heard countless proposals discussed for resuming play, with variables acknowledged and concerns enunciated. Now, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the league has told its Board of Governors that they are targeting July 31 for a return to play.
What will we see from the NBA when it returns on July 31?
While there may be a target date set, as of right now, we still don’t know what exactly we’ll be watching on July 31 and where it will be taking place. A “bubble scenario” with teams and organizational personnel sequestered in single location has long been tagged as the most likely scenario and Walt Disney World seems to have emerged as the probable location.
But earlier in the day, Charania reported that the league was still discussing four different scenarios with the Board of Governors:
16 teams: Directly to playoffs
20 teams: Group/stage play
22: Games to determine seeding, play-in tournament for final seed(s)
30: 72-game regular season, with play-in tourney
A full 30-team return seems unlikely with players like Damian Lillard saying they won’t return for meaningless games and Michael Jordan also urging against a scenario that resumes play for teams with no chance of making the playoffs. A majority of general managers also reportedly told the league they support going directly to the playoffs.
A target date is a huge step forward and one imagines the league would make sure it has plenty. of pieces in place before it communicated one to the Board of Governors. There are plenty of moving parts that could interrupt the plans but, for right now at least, we can all circle July 31 on the calendar and hope that we really are moving towards a safe and healthy resumption of NBA basketball.