The 2019-20 NBA season is in the process of gearing up its return as the league is finalizing details for the move to its bubble location at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The regular season is set to resume with eight games to determine the seeding before the playoffs kick-off.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver also implemented a possible play-in tournament that would determine the eight seed for both conferences in the event certain criteria met in the standings.
The season is slated to begin July 30 and the league provided a schedule of key dates for the remainder of the season. Assuming everything runs according to schedule, the season would end no later than October 12.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks of ESPN, most teams will not be staying too long at the new playing site:
As the NBA firms up its 22-team Orlando restart schedule, 14 of the teams will be eliminated within 53 days of arriving, and only four teams will remain after 67 days, sources said. The NBA has been working to make clear to players that the actual commitment of time for most teams in Orlando may be less daunting than originally perceived, especially once seen in the context of the timetables constructed into the league’s revised schedule. The six teams eliminated after eight regular-season games and a possible play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed would leave Orlando within 35 to 40 days.
Under the new competitive format, 22 teams will be heading to the bubble location, but the NBA will still keep its 16-team playoff configuration, meaning six teams will be leaving as soon as the seeding games conclude.
An additional eight more teams would leave after the first round ends, clearing even more people out of the bubble. That also is when the NBA is expected to permit family members to enter the bubble.
Although the NBA is working with health and government officials on creating strict and thorough medical protocols to prevent the contraction and spread of the novel coronavirus, more people on-site still raises the risk of infection. Concerns about the number of people in the same location are well warranted, so it is of the utmost importance that those details are finalized prior to games actually starting.
There are still some uncertainties about how things will work once the teams begin to travel to Orlando, but it seems as though everything is on track for the return. Teams like the Los Angeles Lakers are fortunate to get their shot to chase a title, and it will be interesting to see what they and others look like when basketball is back.