Coronavirus

Restart Notes: Scheduling, NBPA, Testing, TV Deals

Although the National Basketball Players Association is expected to approve the NBA’s return-to-play plan, a long list of financial, competitive, and scheduling details need to be negotiated for the 2020/21 season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). As Wojnarowski details, most of the new dates shared and/or confirmed today – such as August 25 for the draft lottery and October 15 for the draft – are still considered tentative for the time being.

Meanwhile, Wojnarowski passed along several more “preliminary expectations” on how the schedule will work this summer in Orlando. According to Woj (via Twitter), there will be a 16-day regular season, with five or six games played each day. Each team is expected to play one back-to-back set within its eight regular season games, while the NBA Finals will feature games every other day.

Here’s more on the NBA’s restart:

  • NBPA executive director Michele Roberts admitted she was caught off guard by the NBA’s aggressive turnaround plan between this season and next, writes Wojnarowski. The league is tentative targeting November 10 for opening training camps for next season, with December 1 tentatively penciled in to be opening night. The NBA Finals may not end until October 12, meaning a couple teams could get less than a month off. “I was surprised to see it,” Roberts told ESPN. As Woj notes, the NBPA will have to sign off on changes to the league’s calendar, so those dates aren’t set in stone yet.
  • Tim Bontemps and Brian Windhorst of ESPN have published a helpful primer on the NBA’s return, sharing details on where games will actually be played at Disney (The Arena, HP Field House, and Visa Athletic Center) and how often the league plans to test individuals inside the bubble for COVID-19 (daily, per ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne).
  • In a wide-ranging look at the NBA’s restart, Sam Amick of The Athletic cites sources who say that the eight games teams will play before the postseason this summer will all count toward those clubs’ regional sports network TV deals. That’s significant from a financial perspective — Amick notes that the Lakers make approximately $1.5MM per game from their deal with Spectrum SportsNet, while even the lower-end deals net about $200K per game.

Adam Silver Addresses NBA Return

NBA commissioner Adam Silver appeared on TNT’s Inside The NBA this evening to discuss the league’s officially confirmed 22-team return this summer. Silver touched on a potpourri of topics.

Though more radical season structuring options were discussed, Silver hailed Hornets owner and former five-time NBA MVP Michael Jordan as being an important voice in helping pass the current resumption plan. Silver mentioned that Jordan did not want the league’s return to feel “gimmicky” with excessive playoff format tweaks, per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).

Hall of Fame player-turned-broadcaster Charles Barkley asked Silver about the NBA’s protocol for dealing with a player testing positive for COVID-19, as cited by Tania Ganguli of the LA Times (Twitter link). Silver mentioned that this had been discussed with health officials. The league would not need to pause play, but instead would isolate the player and use contact tracing and daily testing to contain the spread.

Silver delicately handled questions about how the league would deal with older coaches on team benches, mentioning that “certain coaches” might not be able to be present on the sidelines, per an exchange captured by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry, and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich are the three head coaches who, at 65 and older, would be at elevated risk of serious COVID-19 complications were they to contract the virus. Assistants like Jeff Bzdelik (Pelicans) and Lionel Hollins (Clippers) also fall within that age bracket.

Gentry voiced his displeasure with the notion of being separated from his team, per Ramon Shelburne of ESPN (Twitter link). “That doesn’t make sense,” Gentry said. “How can I coach that way?”

D’Antoni also questioned the idea of singling out older coaches with more protective measures, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). “I am sure they want to keep everyone safe,” D’Antoni said. “But to start singling people out with more risk, well, I would hope they wouldn’t want to get into that.”

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle tells Woj (Twitter links) that he talked to Silver and the commissioner “admitted that he jumped the gun” with his comments on older coaches.

“It’s entirely possible that an NBA coach in his 60s or 70s could be healthier than someone in their 30s or 40s,” Carlisle said. “The conversation should never be solely about a person’s age. Adam assured me that we would work through this together to help determine what is both safe and fair for all of our coaches.”

NCAA Sets New Early Entrant Withdrawal Deadline

After indefinitely postponing its June 3 withdrawal deadline for early entrants, the NCAA announced today that it has established a new deadline. Early entrants will have until either August 3 or 10 days after the NBA draft combine (whichever comes first) to withdraw their names while maintaining their college eligibility.

“This provides the utmost flexibility to student-athletes testing the waters to make the most informed decision about their future during this uncertain time,” NCAA senior VP for basketball Dan Gavitt said in a statement. “And by deciding before classes start for the fall semester, it also encourages student-athletes who choose to return to school to be fully engaged in their academic pursuits and the tremendous experience and opportunity to play college basketball.”

[RELATED: 2020 NBA Draft Early Entrants List]

The NBA announced today that it has rescheduled its 2020 draft lottery for August 25. Typically, the combine takes place shortly after the lottery, but it’s not clear if or when it will happen this year. The coronavirus pandemic has made it virtually impossible for the league to hold a traditional combine, which would feature workouts, scrimmages, interviews, and medical tests.

Since it’s extremely unlikely that a combine will be held next month, it seems safe to assume that August 3 will end up being the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline. Most players are unlikely to wait that long to make their decisions, however, as college programs work toward setting their rosters for the 2020/21 season.

As Jonathan Givony of ESPN observes (via Twitter), the NCAA’s decision isn’t great news for players that want the opportunity to potentially participate in an August or September combine. Many players could end up keeping their names in the draft despite being unlikely to be selected, Givony notes.

While the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline for early entrants will be August 3 at the latest, I’d expect the NBA’s to land on October 5. Traditionally, it falls 10 days before the draft, and the 2020 draft has been rescheduled to October 15.

The NBA’s withdrawal deadline typically applies to international players who don’t have to worry about losing NCAA eligibility. However, again, I wouldn’t expect many of those international players to wait until the fall to make their decisions, since most European leagues remain on track to start their 2020/21 seasons at that time.

Buffalo guard Jayvon Graves and Croatian forward Darko Bajo are among the latest early entrants to pull out of this year’s draft, according to tweets from Jeff Goodman of Stadium and agent Misko Raznatovic, respectively.

Restart Notes: Blazers, Camps, 2020/21 Schedule

The Trail Blazers prevented Adam Silver‘s proposal to the NBA’s Board of Governors today from receiving unanimous approval, registering the lone dissenting vote on the 22-team plan.

[RELATED: NBA’s Board of Governors approves 22-team return-to-play plan by 29-1 margin]

As Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN explains (via Twitter), the Trail Blazers are “eager” to resume the season, but voted against the plan because they felt their were more “competitive and innovative” ideas on the table. The team’s “no” vote also reflected some feedback ownership received from players, Woj adds (via Twitter).

As Woj notes, it sounds like one of the Blazers’ concerns was related to the league’s decision on how lottery odds will be calculated. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets that the franchise also preferred a 20-team format instead of the 22-team one the league chose.

While Portland still has a chance to make the postseason in the approved format, it will be challenging. Even if the Blazers move ahead of the Kings and Pelicans – and stay ahead of the Spurs and Suns – they’ll need to keep pace with the Grizzlies and then likely beat Memphis twice in a row to earn the West’s No. 8 seed.

Here are a few more odds and ends related to the NBA’s restart plans:

  • Within his report on the NBA’s return, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski cites sources who say that teams are expected to begin training in Orlando between July 9-11. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported earlier today that teams are expected to travel to Orlando on July 7, so if both dates are accurate, it sounds like there will be no quarantine period upon arriving. The league reportedly plans to have teams start regular coronavirus testing on June 22.
  • Even as the NBA moves forward with its plans for resuming the season, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (Twitter link) hears that the league is prepared for the possibility that its plans could be impacted by changes in the COVID-19 situation.
  • Along those lines, one coach who was on a recent call with the NBA tells Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca (Twitter link) that Adam Silver has said he’s not afraid to pull the plug on the league’s return altogether if it’s deemed unsafe.
  • According to Frank Isola of SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter link), the NBA is believed to be targeting a mid-July Finals for 2021. That timeline would potentially compress next season’s NBA calendar to some extent but would free players up to participate in the Olympics, which were postponed to July 23 – August 8, 2021.

NBA’s Board Of Governors Approves 22-Team Return-To-Play Plan

The NBA’s Board of Governors has formally approved the league’s 22-team plan to resume the 2019/20 season, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Team owners voted 29-to-1 in favor of commissioner Adam Silver‘s proposal, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The Trail Blazers were the lone dissenting vote, tweets Charania.

The plan will reportedly see 22 teams return to action beginning on July 31 with an eight-game regular season schedule to finish the season. From there, the No. 8 seed in each conference may be decided via play-in tournaments and the postseason would follow, ending no later than October 12. All games are expected to be played at Walt Disney World in Florida near Orlando, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.

The Hornets, Bulls, Knicks, Pistons, Hawks, Cavaliers, Timberwolves, and Warriors won’t be part of the NBA’s restart — their seasons are over.

We covered the NBA’s plan – based on what we know so far – in greater detail right here, so be sure to check out that breakdown for much more info.

While approval from the NBA’s Board of Governors is a major step, there are still details to sort out between the league and the National Basketball Players Association. The NBPA has a virtual meeting scheduled for Friday to discuss the plan, as we relayed earlier today.

Based on reports in recent weeks, it sounds as if Silver and the NBA have been in constant contact with NBPA president Chris Paul and the players’ union and have kept their concerns in mind as they developed their plan. As such, there’s an expectation that negotiations between the two sides on specific details related to player salaries, coronavirus testing, and other important issues shouldn’t get too contentious.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NBA Restart Notes: BoG Vote, Player Salaries, More

The NBA’s Board of Governors are expected to approve Adam Silver‘s return-to-play plan today, despite the fact that some of the teams left out of the 22-team return disagree with the league’s solution, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Those teams still intend to vote in favor of the plan, Wojnarowski notes.

While it’s not clear whether team owners will unanimously approve the 22-team proposal, only three-quarters support is required (ie. 23 out of 30 votes), and it’s “expected to clear that hurdle with ease,” Wojnarowski writes.

Here’s more on the NBA’s restart:

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic poses a few questions related to the NBA’s 22-team plan, noting that we still haven’t heard many specifics on how the league plans to test for and handle COVID-19. As Hollinger points out, the issue of whether every team – including the bottom eight – will be permitted to make roster moves before the offseason is also an important one, since some clubs may want to sign players to multiyear deals.
  • With only 22 of 30 teams set to resume play, there will be a significant gap in how many regular season games teams like the Timberwolves (64) and Mavericks (75) end up playing. Dan Feldman of NBC Sports wonders how the NBA and NBPA will determine what portion of their 2019/20 salaries players on those teams have to forfeit — on one hand, players from the bottom eight teams didn’t ask not to play this summer, but they won’t be assuming any of the risk the players going to Orlando will.
  • To further complicate matters, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today tweets that he has heard the eight pre-playoff games this summer will be referred to as “seeding games” rather than regular season games.

Pistons Reopening Practice Facility

The Pistons are reopening their practice facility, the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center, for voluntary individual workouts starting on Thursday, the team announced today in a press release. The club describes it as “phase one” of a full reopening process.

The decision comes in the wake of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer lifting the state’s stay-at-home order and allowing certain athletic practices to be conducted.

A report earlier this week indicated that the Pistons still didn’t plan on reopening their facility before June 12, but it seems the team reconsidered that plan, despite the fact that it won’t get a chance to resume its season this summer.

With the Pistons set to open their doors on Thursday, 29 of 30 NBA teams will have reopened their respective practice facilities for individual workouts. Only the Spurs have yet to announce plans for when they’ll allow workouts at their building.

Details On NBA’s Return-To-Play Plan

After suspending the 2019/20 season on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is now moving closer to finalizing a plan for resuming play.

We’ll use the space below to round up all the latest details on that plan, answering the most commonly-asked questions and updating the story with more information as it becomes available.

This post can be found anytime on the right-hand of our desktop site under “Hoops Rumors Features” or on the “Features” page in our mobile menu.

Has the NBA officially approved a return-to-play plan?

The NBA’s Board of Governors approved the plan on June 4, nearly unanimously. The National Basketball Players Association also signed off on June 5. That means the league, its teams, and its players are on board.

However, there are still details to sort out. Besides getting a sign-off from government and health officials, the league will also need to collectively bargain certain safety protocols, salary details, and rescheduled dates with the players’ union. But there’s no indication at this point that those issues won’t be resolved.

When will the NBA resume play?

The NBA is targeting July 31 for the resumption of its season. Teams are expected to travel to Orlando on or around July 7 and will have training camps, followed by two or three preseason games, before July 31.

Where will the return-to-play take place?

The plan is for all games to be played at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The massive property has more than enough space to house teams, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex has the necessary facilities for basketball games. Games will be played without fans in attendance at The Arena, HP Field House, and Visa Athletic Center, per ESPN.

While an agreement hasn’t been finalized, the NBA has been in talks with Disney for weeks and is expected to hammer out the details soon.

How many teams will return to complete the 2019/20 season?

Twenty-two teams will participate. Those teams are as follows:

  • The current Eastern Conference playoff teams (8):
    1. Milwaukee Bucks
    2. Toronto Raptors
    3. Boston Celtics
    4. Miami Heat
    5. Indiana Pacers
    6. Philadelphia 76ers
    7. Brooklyn Nets
    8. Orlando Magic
  • The current Western Conference playoff teams (8):
    1. Los Angeles Lakers
    2. Los Angeles Clippers
    3. Denver Nuggets
    4. Utah Jazz
    5. Oklahoma City Thunder
    6. Houston Rockets
    7. Dallas Mavericks
    8. Memphis Grizzlies
  • The teams within six games of a playoff spot (6):
    1. Portland Trail Blazers
    2. New Orleans Pelicans
    3. Sacramento Kings
    4. San Antonio Spurs
    5. Phoenix Suns
    6. Washington Wizards

The Hornets, Bulls, Knicks, Pistons, Hawks, Cavaliers, Timberwolves, and Warriors won’t be part of the NBA’s restart — their seasons are over.

Why is the NBA bringing back 22 teams instead of 30?

Adding eight more clubs to the mix would mean bringing several hundred additional individuals into the bubble, increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19. The NBA didn’t consider it necessary to bring back those eight teams, who were far removed from the playoff picture and would have had no real path to the postseason had the season played out normally.

So why 22 teams instead of 16 then?

The 22-team format accomplishes two things:

  1. It allows teams to play a regular season schedule rather than jumping directly to the postseason.
  2. It will allow the NBA to experiment with a play-in tournament.

The first point is important because players on playoff teams opposed the idea of advancing directly to the postseason without playing meaningful games first. They want to be able to shake off the rest and reestablish their chemistry before jumping into do-or-die games.

Playing regular season games will also allow these 22 teams – who have played between 64 and 67 games so far – to surpass the 70-game mark for the regular season, which is an important threshold for clubs’ agreements with regional TV networks.

Meanwhile, implementing in-season and/or play-in tournaments has long been on Silver’s wish list, and this year’s unusual circumstances presented the league with the opportunity to experiment.

So regular season games will take place when play resumes?

Yes, though they’re technically not being called regular season games. Each team will play eight pre-playoff contests, referred to by the NBA as “seeding games,” for a total of 88 NBA games between July 31 and the start of the playoffs in August.

And will the top eight teams in each conference make the playoffs at that point?

Not necessarily. If the No. 8 seed has more than a four-game lead on the No. 9 seed, then yes, the top eight teams in that conference will automatically make the postseason. On the other hand, if the No. 9 seed is within four games of the No. 8 seed, those two teams will participate in a play-in tournament.

What will that play-in tournament look like?

Essentially, it’ll be a best-of-three series with the No. 8 team getting a 1-0 lead to start. The No. 9 team will have to win twice to claim the final playoff spot in the conference, while the No. 8 team will only need to win once.

Once the playoff teams are set, will they be reseeded one through 16, regardless of conference?

No, the postseason will assume a traditional format once the No. 8 seeds are set — teams will be divided by Eastern and Western conferences and will play best-of-seven series.

What coronavirus-related protocols will the NBA institute to ensure players’ safety?

Players, coaches, and staffers within the Disney “bubble” are expected to undergo daily COVID-19 testing. Additionally, the NBA is expected to introduce several other safety measures, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Players will be required to shower at their hotels rather than in the arena (per Shams Charania of The Athletic).
  • Inactive players will sit in the stands instead of on the bench, with active players spaced out on the bench (per Charania).
  • Players won’t be permitted to bring guests (likely family members) into the “bubble” until after the first round of the playoffs and are expected to be limited to three guests apiece.
  • The plan is to have a maximum of 1,600 people within the bubble at a given time.
  • The NBA will likely allow individuals to leave the bubble and return, but the NBPA is stressing that its players shouldn’t do so.

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

A single positive test isn’t expected to shut down the season, as it did in March when Rudy Gobert contracted the coronavirus. The expectation is that a player who tests positive will be required to self-quarantine for at least seven days, with his teammates being frequently tested as they continue to play.

How late will the season run?

If the NBA Finals go a full seven games, the last game is expected to happen no later than October 12.

When will next season start?

The NBA is tentatively targeting November 10 for the start of next season’s training camps, with December 1 representing the target date for opening night of the regular season. In other words, a team that plays in the Finals may have to report to training camp less than a month later.

That timeline is not yet set in stone. Given how much of its revenues are tied to ticket sales and in-arena purchases, the NBA will prioritize getting fans back into arenas next season, so if the league has to wait a little longer to ensure that happens, it will likely do so.

Additionally, the NBPA – whose members may not love the idea of such a short offseason – will have to approve those proposed dates, and the union reportedly views a December 1 tip-off date for 2020/21 as unlikely.

Will the NBA play a full season in 2020/21? Will that schedule change be permanent?

That’s TBD. Everything we’ve heard suggests the NBA is still prioritizing playing a full 82-game schedule next season, in part to attempt to recoup some of this season’s lost revenues. The idea of starting the regular season in December and having it run into June (with the playoffs ending in August) has been popular in some NBA circles, but the league hasn’t committed to changing its calendar on a permanent basis.

One report has indicated the league would like to hold the 2021 Finals in mid-July, in part to allow players to participate in the Tokyo Olympics, which are scheduled to begin on July 23, 2021.

When will this year’s draft and free agency period occur?

The 2020 draft has been rescheduled for October 15. Free agency is expected to open three days later, on October 18. It’s shaping up to be an extremely hectic week for the NBA, especially if the Finals go a full seven games and end on October 12.

Player option decision dates, salary guarantee dates, trade exception expiry dates, and various other deadlines will need to be pushed back as well. That hasn’t happened yet.

How will the draft lottery odds be determined?

The draft lottery – rescheduled for August 25 – will be made up of the eight teams not involved in the league’s restart and the six teams that don’t make the postseason. Those teams’ lottery seeds and odds will be based on their records through March 11, according to the NBA.

Those seeds and odds can be found here, but will be subject to change if a current playoff team loses its No. 8 seed to a current lottery team. For instance, if if the Wizards were to beat the Magic in a play-in tournament, the Suns, Spurs, Kings, Pelicans, and Trail Blazers would all move up a spot in the lottery standings, Orlando would get the 14th spot in those lottery standings, and the Wizards would draft 15th overall.

The rest of the draft order will be based on the 16 playoff teams’ combined records across regular season games and “seeding games.” For instance, the Heat (41-24) are currently projected to draft 23rd, but if they go 1-7 when play resumes, they’ll likely move up in the draft.

How will players’ salaries and next season’s salary cap be impacted by the NBA’s plan?

That remains unclear. By playing 88 more regular season games, the NBA will ensure that many of its teams surpass the 70-game threshold and fulfill regional TV contracts, which is good news for the league’s financial situation.

Players – who are currently having 25% of their pay checks withheld – will still be required to forfeit a portion of their 2019/20 salaries as a result of the 171 regular season games that will end up being canceled. But there’s a belief they’ll begin receiving their full pay checks at some point this summer.

As for how the 2020/21 salary cap will be affected, that will require some negotiation between the NBA and NBPA and will hinge in part on how significantly the league expects next season’s revenues to be impacted by the pandemic. There’s a belief that neither the league nor the union will want the cap to drop off substantially this offseason, so artificially smoothing it could be the most logical solution.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NBA Expected To Approve 22-Team Return-To-Play Format

11:25am: The NBA’s Board of Governors is expected to approve Silver’s plan on Thursday, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

10:00am: When he meets with the NBA’s Board of Governors on Thursday, commissioner Adam Silver intends to propose a return-to-play plan that will see 22 teams resume their seasons, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The NBA reportedly discussed proposals involving 16, 20, 22, or 30 teams last week, with that 22-team format gaining increased support. Although the ownership groups from teams like the Hawks and Bulls expressed a desire to participate, per Charania, the plan will exclude them and the rest of the NBA’s bottom-eight teams in order to limit – to some extent – the number of people the league will have to bring into its “bubble” in Orlando.

As Charania details, the 22-team format would bring back the 16 current playoff teams, along with six additional clubs who are within six games of a postseason spot (the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs, Suns, and Wizards).

The plan would see those 22 clubs play eight regular season games apiece, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), before a play-in tournament is held for the eighth seed. The play-in format would be as follows, per Charania:

  • If the No. 9 seed is more than four games behind the No. 8 seed, the No. 8 seed would automatically earn the playoff spot.
  • If the No. 9 seed is within four games of the No. 8 seed, those two teams would enter a play-in tournament for the final playoff spot in the conference. Such a tournament would be double-elimination for the No. 8 seed and single-elimination for the No. 9 seed (ie. a best-of-three series, with the No. 8 seed given a 1-0 lead to start).

Currently, the Grizzlies hold a 3.5-game lead on Portland, New Orleans, and Sacramento in the West, with San Antonio four games back, and Phoenix six games back. In the East, the Magic have a 5.5-game lead on the Wizards, so Washington would need to make up some ground to force a play-in tournament.

Besides giving those six current lottery teams a chance to make the postseason, the format will allow all 22 clubs to surpass 70 regular season games, ensuring that many of them meet the requirements for regional TV contracts, which will help out the league financially.

According to Charania, July 31 remains the target date for the resumption of the 2019/20 season, with the draft lottery and combine – which had been postponed indefinitely – now expected to take place in August. Presumably, those events would take different forms than they normally do, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s not clear yet how the 2020 lottery odds may be affected by the play-in tournament format.

[RELATED: Proposed NBA Plan Would Complete Finals By October 12]

The NBA’s proposal for the resumption of the season is also expected to include many medical and safety protocols, Charania notes. Sources tell The Athletic that those protocols will likely include players showering at their hotels rather than in the arena, inactive players sitting in the stands instead of on the bench, and players not being permitted to bring guests into the “bubble” until the postseason begins.

Any proposal from the NBA will require approval from at least three-quarters of the league’s Board of Governors (ie. 23 of 30 team owners). However, even if the plan isn’t every club’s first choice, there’s an expectation that team owners will get behind Silver and vote in favor of his proposal.

The Board of Governors’ Thursday call is scheduled for 12:30pm eastern time, tweets Wojnarowski.

Proposed NBA Plan Would Complete Finals By October 12

Last week, we heard that the NBA was tentatively circling July 31 on its calendar as a target date for the resumption of the 2019/20 season. Today, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski provides another important detail on the NBA’s proposed timeline, tweeting that the league is eyeing October 12 as the last possible date for Game 7 of the 2020 Finals.

Wojnarowski notes in a follow-up tweet that the league is still working through details on its return-to-play plan with the NBPA. As such, it’s not clear whether that October 12 date is part of the tentative proposal for now, or if it’s just the latest possible Game 7 date that has been discussed, out of a handful of possibilities.

The NBA intends to bring a proposal to its Board of Governors on Thursday for a vote, so the details of the plan will likely need to be finalized soon.

During the first month or two following the suspension of the season, reports suggested that the NBA preferred not to have the 2019/20 season run beyond Labor Day. The new timeline reflects the league’s changing stance on that issue.

The NBA has seemingly become more willing to start the 2020/21 season much later than usual in the hopes that by the time opening night arrives, fans will be allowed back in arenas. Given how much revenue is generated from ticket sales and in-arena purchases, the league likely won’t be in any rush to begin next season until states have lifted bans on large gatherings, at least to some extent.

If the season runs into early October, 2020’s draft and free agency period likely wouldn’t take place until mid-to-late October at the earliest. It also seems unlikely that the ’20/21 campaign will tip off before Christmas.