(CBS Local Sports) — The NBA has finalized a plan to resume play, close to three months after it suspended its season.
The league presented the plan to their board of governors on Thursday, which was approved by a 29-1 vote. The loan team to vote against the proposal was the Portland Trail Blazers, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalized with public health officials and medical experts. We also recognize that as we prepare to resume play, our society is reeling from recent tragedies of racial violence and injustice, and we will continue to work closely with our teams and players to use our collective resources and influence to address these issues in very real and concrete ways.”
The NBA’s Board of Governors has voted to approve the league’s 22-team format to restart the 2019-2020 season in Orlando, source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 4, 2020
In the plan, 22 teams, including 13 from the Western Conference and nine from the Eastern Conference, would resume play on July 31. To qualify, a team needs to be no more than six games out of a playoff spot.
The 22 resuming teams will play eight “regular season” games to set up seeding for the playoffs. After that short schedule, 16 teams will advance to the playoffs — eight from the West and eight from the East. A short play-in round will determine the eighth seed if any team is within four games. The playoffs will begin in August.
For the eight teams that don’t resume play, their seasons are over.
The Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics had previously clinched playoff spots. With only eight games left, the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets are locked in too. The Dallas Mavericks, with a seven-game lead on the Memphis Grizzlies, seem likely to make the postseason.
After that, things could get a little dicey. The Grizzlies hold the eighth seed in the West. But the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns all sit within six games. In the East, the Brooklyn Nets currently hold the seventh seed and the Orlando Magic the eighth seed, with the Washington Wizards within six games of both.
All games would played at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex on the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida.
The NBA season went on hiatus on March 11, soon after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. All major sports leagues remained dormant through May and have only recently revealed plans to reopen.