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NBA owners approve 22-team format to resume 2019-20 season

Under the proposal, which was submitted to the NBA's board of governors by league commissioner Adam Silver, the 2019-20 season is set to resume at the end of July. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
Under the proposal, which was submitted to the NBA's board of governors by league commissioner Adam Silver, the 2019-20 season is set to resume at the end of July. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

June 4 (UPI) -- The NBA's board of governors voted Thursday to approve a 22-team format to resume the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Fla., the league announced.

League sources told ESPN that teams approved the plan by a 29-1 margin, with the Portland Trail Blazers voting against the proposal.

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The National Basketball Players Association has been working closely with NBA commissioner Adam Silver and league officials on the return-to-play plan, and the NBPA's team player representatives have a conference call scheduled for Friday to approve the proposal, according to ESPN.

The NBA also said the season resuming is contingent on an agreement with The Walt Disney Company to use the Walt Disney Resort as a single site for all games, practices and housing for the remainder of the season.

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"The Board's approval of the restart format is a necessary step forward resuming the NBA season," Silver said in a statement. "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.

"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."

Under the proposal, 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams will play eight regular-season "seeding" games, a potential play-in tournament for the eighth seeds in each conference and the postseason at the Walt Disney World Resort.

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The top 16 teams in the West and the East will be joined by teams currently within six games of the eighth seed in the two conferences -- the New Orleans Pelicans, Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards.

The play-in tournament will include the No. 8 and No. 9 teams in the standings, if the ninth seed ends the regular season within four games of the eighth spot. If a play-in series occurs, it would essentially be a best-of-two matchup, where the No. 9 seed would have to win twice to earn the final playoff berth, while the No. 8 seed would need to win once.

Teams will start training in Orlando beginning July 9-11, according to ESPN. Under the plan, the season would resume at the end of July and the NBA Finals would take place in October.

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The NBA also offered dates beyond the start and end of this season, with the draft lottery scheduled for Aug. 25, the NBA Draft on Oct. 15 and the 2020-21 season likely starting Dec. 1.

The league will have daily testing for the coronavirus at the Disney campus. If a player tests positive for the virus, the league would remove that individual from the team to quarantine and continue to play.

The NBA suspended its season in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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