After four and a half months of interruption due to the coronavirus, NBA play will resume on July 31st at Disney World, in Florida. But under certain conditions.
After a timeout of four and a half months due to the coronavirus, the game will resume in the NBA, from July 31st, 2020, at Disney World (Florida), there will be crowned a champion among the 22 teams concerned by an end of the season behind closed doors unpublished.
The announcement, made Thursday by the North American league, was awaited by all basketball fans. It was still necessary for this that the recovery plan for the season was approved by at least three-quarters of the 30 franchise owners.
In the end, 29 gave the green light. Only Portland, however concerned by this recovery, voted against.
Meetings organized in Orlando
“This is a first step among many others necessary to resume the championship,” said Commissioner Adam Silver . After being the first to suspend the season in his league, followed by his counterparts in other sports, he is the first to announce his return, with precise date, place and format.
The next step should be a formality Friday, the players union (NBPA) to turn the bandwagon, although its CEO Michelle Roberts expressed surprise to the date set for 1 st December to start the next season .
In the meantime, July 31st should mark the return to the game four and a half months after the positive test at Covid-19 by French Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz). Its epilogue is scheduled for October 12 at the latest if the finals are played in seven matches.
All the meetings will take place at Disney World in Orlando, more precisely on the huge site “ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex”, which has three rooms, as well as hotels capable of accommodating delegations (limited to 35 people) .
Strict health protocols
The security protocols against the coronavirus promise to be strict, between temperature measurements, wearing of masks, social distancing, and especially tests carried out daily .
“We hope we can end the season safely and responsibly,” said Adam Silver, also concerned with ensuring the safety of veteran coaches, such as Gregg Popovich (71 / San Antonio) or Mike D’Antoni (69 / Houston ).
“Some may not end up on the bench.”
Two scenarios considered
On the sporting side, the 22 teams concerned are the first eight of each conference on the evening of March 11: Milwaukee, Toronto, Boston, Miami, Indiana, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Orlando in the East; Lakers, Clippers, Denver, Utah, Oklahoma City, Houston, Dallas, Memphis to the West. As well as the six clubs that are six victories or less from 8 th place in each conference: New Orleans, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio to the West, and only Washington to the East.
Each will first play eight regular season games . After which, the play-off table will be almost known , since the first seven of each conference will be directly qualified . The 8 th and final will sesame, East and West, the subject of a possible dam.
Two scenarios will be possible. If the 9 th is more than 4 games behind the 8 th , the latter is directly qualified for the play-offs, without playing a play-off. If the 9 th is 4 matches or less behind the 8 th , the two compete in the play-off. The 8 th must win once to qualify, the 9 th must win twice.
This plan excludes the eight lowest ranked championships, all conferences combined, and therefore marks the end of the season for Charlotte, Chicago, New York, Detroit, Atlanta, Cleveland, Minnesota and Golden State .
“Although we are disappointed that the season is over and we would have preferred to continue playing, we understand the recommendation and the decision of the league,” said the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Finally, if the NBA is about to bounce back in the wonderful world of Disney, the very real one in which players currently find themselves oscillates between the uncertainties and worries linked to the coronavirus and the anger and indignation accumulated over the past ten days since the death of George Floyd after an arrest .
“We recognize that our society is shaken by the recent tragedies of racial violence and injustice. We will continue to work with our teams and players to use our resources and influence to solve these problems in a very concrete way, ”promised Adam Silver.
The possibility of some players kneeling on the ground in Florida exists. This would not only make people speak but would also testify to the vitality of the NBA, determined to avoid an annus horribilis, between a diplomatic crisis with China, the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and the ever-present coronavirus pandemic, on which the dunks didn’t just wait to be slammed.