In 58 days, the NBA will be back. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that the league’s board of governors is expected to approve a return-to-play plan Thursday afternoon that puts the league on course to resume regular-season games on July 31.
The plan calls for 22 teams to return to action on the last day of July. They’ll play eight regular-season games in Orlando to determine playoff seeding, with a complicated play-in scenario to determine the last seed. Then the postseason will begin, also in Orlando, with the last possible day of the NBA Finals coming on October 12.
The 22 teams that have gotten the invite include the eight from the Eastern and Western Conferences that would make the playoffs if the season ended today and six other teams — five from the West and one from the East. The one from the East is the Wizards, meaning today marks the Knicks’ official elimination from the NBA playoffs.
The news of resumption of the NBA season comes 84 days after the league called off all games at the beginning on the pandemic in the U.S. The postponement, which came after Utah Jazz forward Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, happened on March 11. It was the same day Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announced their own positive tests; the same day President Trump delivered a prime-time address about the virus; and the same day that the coronavirus finally broke through to the American consciousness.