Written by Ben the Pen
The NBA ended its regular season on March 12 and hasn't returned since. There were questions about whether the regular season would return or would they just start with the playoffs, assuming there would be a season.
Finally, on Thursday, June 5, it looks as though the NBA will finally return with 22 teams from Orlando, according to ESPN and Adrian Wojnarowski.
Each of the 22 teams will play eight regular-season games in Orlando for seeding purposes for the playoffs according to ESPN. That will include all 16 teams that are currently the eight seeds of each conference, as well as New Orleans, Portland, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio and Washington. The Wizards are the only teams to be included from the Eastern Conference according to Wojnarowski.
Each team would play eight regular-season games (from Woj) and that would include a play-in tournament for the eighth seeds in each conference (according to Sham Charania of The Athletic). But the tournaments would only come into play if the No. 9 seed finishes the shortened regular season within four games of No. 8. So for example, No. 9 Washington in the Eastern Conference is 5.5 games behind No. 8 Orlando. If they finish within four games, the Wizards would have to beat the Magic twice in a row in order to earn the conference's final playoff spot.
As part of the plan, the NBA Draft Lottery and combine will be held in August.
As for health precautions, players will have to shower at hotels. Inactive players will have to watch from the stands and players who are active would spread out in rows. Players also can't bring guests to Orlando until the playoffs.
This plan would not start until late July and by the time the playoffs end, the latest date would be on Oct. 12, according to Wojnarowski. That would mean that the following season would not start until maybe late December.