The timeline of a potential return to the NBA season has been uncertain for months. Without even knowing whether basketball would come back at all, there was no sense in speculating on a timeframe for it to do so. However, as the NBA’s plan to finish the season at Disney World takes shape, some specifics are coming into view.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the league has set July 31 as the target date for its resumption. According to ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski, the league’s Board of Governors is expected to vote to approve the recommendation of Adam Silver on a format for replaying the season next Thursday, June 4. As of right now, 20 of the total 22 teams are expected to be invited to Orlando.
That would give the NBA two more months in order to finish organizing its Disney proposal as well as get its players back up to physically speed with both individual workouts along with a second training camp at practice facilities. Teams taking part in whatever format the regular season and playoffs take would later travel to Orlando and quarantine before basketball could start again.
Restarting games so late in July poses a potential logistical issue for next season. If the league is to maintain a seven-game series format for the post-season, the playoffs will need at least two months to be held in earnest. If regular-season or play-in games are also included, that could push the postseason into October.
If next season were to start on Christmas Day as many have speculated, that would make players have less than three months off before the games started again. When training camps are factored in, their vacation time would be even shorter, that might pose a potential risk for injury.
However, there is still no perfect solution here. Resuming this season too quickly would also pose potential injury risks, particularly given the intensity of playoff games.