After the NBA’s bubble designed to resume the 2019-20 season turned out to be a terrific success, the league is now facing a daunting challenge of carrying out a new campaign safely in each team’s home market.
Despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic drastically worsening in the United States over recent weeks, the 2020-21 season is set to begin on Dec. 22, with training camps opening at the beginning of the month.
The teams not only have to cope with an extremely short offseason but also prevent COVID-19 outbreaks as the players are returning for the training camps with no bubble to protect them from potential exposure to the virus.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, players and staff members will have to adhere to testing in order to access team facilities:
Sources: Following 3 negative PCR tests, players and staff may enter facilities for individual workouts with a 4-player, 4-staff member max. https://t.co/nvuPBfSTs8
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 17, 2020
The NBA has announced each team will play 42 intraconference and 30 interconference games. As travel can increase the likelihood of contracting the virus, the league allowed extra room in the second part of the season’s schedule for games that might need to be rescheduled.
The schedule is yet to be unveiled and it will be released in two stages to accommodate any changes.
The All-Star break will take place between March 5-10, although the All-Star Game is believed to be cancelled. The playoffs are scheduled for a May 22 tipoff.
Play-in tournaments will determine the last two seeds in each conference — as it did the Western Conference’s No. 8 playoff spot in the Orlando bubble.
Teams to decide number of preseason games
The 2020-21 preseason is penciled in to start on Dec. 11 and run for nine days. NBA teams will reportedly be able to decide whether they want to play three or four exhibition games before the start of the regular season.
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