Basketball Is Back! NBA Announces Restart Date for 2019-2020 Season and Releases Full Schedule
After four months, basketball is coming back!
The NBA announced its plan to resume the 2019-20 season on Friday, revealing the participating teams will play eight "seeding games" at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida at the end of July and into August.
The first games back will take place on July 30, with match-ups between the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans as well as the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers. A maximum of seven seeding games will take place each day, with games airing on TNT, ABC, ESPN and NBA TV. The full schedule can be found here.
Each team will be designated as home or visiting for four of their eight seeding games, which will "count toward the final 2019-20 regular-season standings and regular-season statistics," the NBA said.
The seeding games will conclude on August 14, the playoffs will begin on August 17, and the finals are expected to conclude by October 13.
A total of 22 teams will participate in the season's return, including eight teams from each conference in current playoff positions, as well as six teams that are at most six games behind the eighth seed in their conferences.
The Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards will return from the Eastern Conference.
From the Western Conference, the teams returning will include the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns.
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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that "health and safety" will be prioritized in the league's return.
"We have worked together with the Players Association to establish a restart plan that prioritizes health and safety, preserves competitive fairness and provides a platform to address social justice issues," Silver said in a statement Friday.
"We are grateful to our longtime collaborator Disney for its role in playing host and making this return to play possible, and we also thank the public health officials and infectious disease specialists who helped guide the creation of comprehensive medical protocols and protections," Silver added.
Multiple NBA players have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past few months. The NBA said in a press release Friday that a "rigorous" program is in place that "focuses on the well-being of players, coaches, officials and staff" and "was developed in consultation with public health experts, infectious disease specialists and government officials."
The NBA said that its goal in restarting the season is to "find tangible and sustainable ways to address racial inequality across the country," which includes "strategies to increase Black representation across the NBA and its teams, ensure greater inclusion of Black-owned and operated businesses across NBA business activities, and form an NBA foundation to expand educational and economic development opportunities across the Black community."