In recent weeks the NBA has nailed down its plan for the finish of the 2019-20 regular season, which will include 22 teams living and playing at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on he the Walt Disney World campus in Orlando, Fla.
The league decided to go with 22 teams to limit the number of people living in the “bubble” at the resort, and that number is expected to decrease as time goes by.
In order to determine playoff seeding, all teams will play eight regular-season games to start. There then will be a play-in tournament between the No. 8 and 9 seeds in each conference if they are 3.5 games or less apart in the standings to determine who will go on to the actual postseason, which will be its normal format with two separate conferences and seven-game series’.
Now that the format has been locked down, the NBA has begun putting together its expected dates for each segment of the season and recently updated those, via Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Sources: NBA's expected restart dates:
– July 30-Aug. 14: Seeding games
– Aug.15-16: Play-in tournaments
– Aug. 17: Playoffs begin
– Aug. 30: Family/guests of teams arrive
– Aug. 31-Sept. 13: Conf. Semifinals
– Sept. 15-Sept. 28: Conf. Finals
– Sept. 30-Oct. 13: NBA Finals
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 12, 2020
The original return date was set for July 31, although it has been reported that it was moved up a day to July 30.
Players have expressed concern in recent days about the health and safety protocols that will be in place in Orlando, and it seems the league is still in the process of figuring everything out in that regard.
A lot of the concern could have to do with players being away from their families for months at a time. But for now, the NBA appears determined in not permitting that until after the first round of the playoffs.
Additionally, the league is allowing any players that don’t feel comfortable playing to opt-out and stay home with teams having the ability to sign replacements players.
It remains to be seen how many players will go that route, although it’s safe to say that it likely won’t be any on the Los Angeles Lakers considering they have a legitimate chance to win a championship and have been determined all season to do so.