NBA approves plan to resume play July 31 with 22 teams

The National Basketball Association has approved a plan to reopen its season after suspending games due to Covid-19, the league announced. 

The NBA held its board of governors’ vote on Thursday where officials moved to restart games using 22 teams in a closed environment in Orlando, Florida. The decision was made in a 29-1 vote. League commissioner Adam Silver submitted the proposal last week. 

The plan calls for players to begin traveling to Orlando on July 7, and for the season to resume on July 31. Each team will play eight regular season games before entering a full four-round playoff bracket. The season will end no later than Oct. 12 and the NBA draft is scheduled for Oct. 15. 

The proposal needs to be approved National Basketball Players Association, and is also contingent on an agreement with Disney to use Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando as the location for all games, practices and housing for the remainder of the season. 

Amid the ongoing pandemic, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are negotiating details concerning safety guidelines. 

“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,” Silver said in a statement.

During an appearance on CNBC’s “Special Report: Crisis in America” Milwaukee Bucks co-owner and Avenue Capital co-founder Marc Lasry said he supports the plan, which he said would add one extra Eastern Conference team and five from the West. The six clubs will compete for one postseason slot. The top eight teams from each conference as of the time when the season was suspended will also be included. 

“I think it should be great,” Lasry said.

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo also said he supports a return “as long as it’s safe for me and my family. I think the NBA will do the right thing to prioritize our safety and our health.”

The NBA joins the National Hockey League in approving a plan to restart games. On May 26, the NHL announced it would resume games via a 24-team postseason tournament in two hub cities.

The NBA suspended games on March 11, becoming the the first U.S. pro sports league to do so.

CNBC’s Jessica Golden and Hannah Miller contributed to this report.

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