The NBA’s Board of Governors approved a return to play plan that will send 22 teams to Orlando in July for the completion of eight regular season games before the playoffs.
The Players’ Association now must ratify that plan as well, but if they do, it will bring basketball back at the end of July. We learned earlier in the day that the plan will put the NBA Draft on October 15, with the lottery on August 25. The Athletic’s Shams Charania then offered details on the key dates for the return plan, not just for the resumption of this season, but for offseason and 2020-21 dates as well.
Sources: The NBA informed the Board of Governors of scheduled dates:
– Training camp: June 30, July 7 travel to Orlando
– 2019-20 season: July 31
– Free agency: Oct. 18
– 2020-21 targets: Nov. 10 training camp, Dec. 1 opening night (can remain fluid)
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 4, 2020
The July 7 date for everyone to head to Disney offers them a chance for more practice and camp time, as well as some “preseason” type scrimmages with other teams, as reported by the AP’s Tim Reynolds, before the July 31 start.
Source: There will be some sort of exhibitions at the Disney/ESPN complex – call them preseason games or glorified scrimmages, whatever – for NBA teams before the regular season resumes in late July.
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) June 4, 2020
With the season ending on October 12 at the latest, the draft on the 15th and free agency starting on the 18th will make for quite the turnaround. While most anticipated something like a Christmas Day start to next season, according to Charania, the plan is to restart on Dec. 1 with camp starting on Nov. 10, which means it’s possible that teams in the Finals could have less than a month of rest before camp begins.
It is an incredibly condensed schedule, and it will be very interesting to see how this impacts next season for teams that make a deep playoff run this year. One would think those teams would be more likely to try and rest players and shuffle lineups in and out to keep guys fresh on such a short turnaround. It’s hard not to think that the NBA starting so soon is in an attempt to set players up for potentially playing in the Olympics next summer, although it wouldn’t be a surprise if players that play deep in the playoffs this year would be less than keen on playing an extended schedule of international play next season.