NBA’S RE­TURN WILL IN­CLUDE A FEW TWISTS

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - MIKE GANTER mgan­ter@post­media.com

As ex­pected, the NBA board of gov­er­nors fol­lowed the lead of com­mis­sioner Adam Sil­ver and gave his re­turn-to-play plan a re­sound­ing vote of ap­proval by a 29-1 count.

The lone dis­senter was the Port­land Trail Blaz­ers, who, ac­cord­ing to ESPN’S Adrian Wo­j­narowski, voted against “be­cause the fran­chise be­lieved there were more com­pet­i­tive and in­no­va­tive for­mats on ta­ble.”

Re­gard­less, the first ma­jor step in bas­ket­ball’s re­turn has been com­pleted.

Still to come is a rat­i­fi­ca­tion by the play­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion, which is ex­pected Fri­day and of­fi­cial agree­ment by Walt Dis­ney

World in Or­lando to host the re­main­der of the NBA sched­ule and play­offs.

Work on that front has al­ready been done and the con­fir­ma­tion of that is ex­pected to come in the next cou­ple of days.

So back to the games.

Here are the par­tic­u­lars of how the NBA will re­sume.

WHO WILL PLAY?

The top 22 teams as per the NBA stand­ings on March 11 when the coro­n­avirus pan­demic shut every­thing down. That group in­cludes:

13 Western Con­fer­ence teams: Los An­ge­les Lak­ers, Los An­ge­les Clip­pers, Den­ver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Ok­la­homa City Thun­der, Hous­ton Rock­ets, Dal­las Mav­er­icks, Memphis Griz­zlies, Port­land Trail Blaz­ers, New Or­leans Pel­i­cans, Sacra­mento Kings, San An­to­nio Spurs and Phoenix Suns.

Nine East­ern Con­fer­ence teams: Mil­wau­kee Bucks, Toronto Rap­tors, Bos­ton Celtics, Mi­ami Heat, In­di­ana Pac­ers, Philadel­phia 76ers, Brook­lyn Nets, Or­lando Magic, and Wash­ing­ton Wizards.

The cut­off for teams lower than eighth place in their con­fer­ence were the teams within six games of the eighth-place record in their re­spec­tive con­fer­ence.

HOW OF­TEN WILL TEST­ING OC­CUR?

The plan is for daily, uni­form test­ing for all within the bub­ble, ac­cord­ing to ESPN.

WHERE WILL THEY PLAY?

As men­tioned, all games will take part within a tight bub­ble within Walt Dis­ney World at the Wide World of Sports Com­plex.

The games will be played at one of three venues: The Arena, HP Field House, and the Visa Ath­letic Cen­ter, ac­cord­ing to ESPN.

HOW WILL THE REG­U­LAR SEA­SON UN­FOLD?

The sea­son will con­clude with eight games for each of the 22 teams in play as se­lected from its re­main­ing reg­u­lar-sea­son matchups. Those game will de­ter­mine play­off seed­ing. At the con­clu­sion of the games, the seven teams in each con­fer­ence with the best com­bined records across reg­u­lar-sea­son games and seed­ing games would qual­ify for the play­offs.

The sched­ule could in­clude up to as many as seven games a day dur­ing the first three weeks of Au­gust as the league takes care of ty­ing up the reg­u­lar sea­son with those eight games per team.

WILL THERE BE A TRAIN­ING CAMP?

Yes, there will ac­tu­ally be both a pre-camp and an ac­tual train­ing camp pe­riod. In­ter­na­tional play­ers will be told to be back in their home mar­ket or at that team’s pre-camp site by June

15. We men­tion the team’s pre­camp site be­cause it’s sound­ing very likely the Toronto Rap­tors, for in­stance, will do its camp some­where in the U.S. with half the team al­ready down there and a trip to Or­lando in their near fu­ture any­way.

All play­ers must re­port by June 21 with test­ing be­gin­ning June

22.

The ac­tual train­ing camps within the bub­ble will be­gin be­tween July 9 and 11, but teams will ar­rive July 7 and be­gin a 14-day quar­an­tine.

WHO MAKES THE PLAY­OFFS?

The top seven in each con­fer­ence fol­low­ing the seed­ing games au­to­mat­i­cally qual­ify for the play­offs, which will all be seven-game se­ries and fol­low the tra­di­tional NBA play­off for­mat of first round, con­fer­ence semi­fi­nals, con­fer­ence fi­nals and then the fi­nals.

If the ninth place team is within four games of the eight­place team at the end of reg­u­la­tion games, those two teams will con­duct a play-in se­ries for the fi­nal berth.

To earn the eighth and fi­nal seed, the eighth-place team would have to de­feat the ninth­place team just once. The ninth-place team can only bump the eighth-place team with two con­sec­u­tive wins.

WHAT ABOUT THE DRAFT?

The league has set Aug. 25 as the draft lottery with the ac­tual draft date to be held Oct. 15.

The 176 reg­u­lar-sea­son games played in Or­lando will count to­ward draft po­si­tion, so all 22 of the teams ac­tive for the re­turn to play could have their po­si­tions change. The eight teams not in­volved are locked into their cur­rent spot based on the records on March 11

WHAT ABOUT NEXT SEA­SON?

The league has set a ten­ta­tive target date of Dec. 1 for open­ing night for 2020-21. Train­ing camp for next sea­son is ten­ta­tively set to open Nov. 10. Free agency would be­gin Oct. 18.

DEN­NIS WIERZBICKI/USA TO­DAY SPORTS

NBA com­mis­sioner Adam Sil­ver has over­whelm­ing sup­port from the league’s board of gov­er­nors for his plan to re­sume the sea­son.

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