NBA to resume July 31 at Disney World in Florida

ESPN Stadium in Walt Disney World, Florida on June 3.
ESPN Stadium in Walt Disney World, Florida on June 3. John Raoux / AP

After a timeout of four and a half months due to the coronavirus, the game will resume in the NBA, from July 31 at Disney World (Florida), where will be crowned a champion among the 22 teams affected by an end of season in camera unpublished.

The announcement, made by the league on Thursday, June 4, 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. "This approval is the first step among many others necessary to resume the championship", said the league. The next should be a formality Friday, the players' union (NBPA) in turn to follow suit.

End of season October 12

Still provisional, the date of July 31 should mark the return to play four and a half months after the positive test at Covid-19 of the French pivot Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz) which led to the suspension of the season. Its epilogue is scheduled for October 12 at the latest if the finals are played in seven matches.

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All the meetings will take place at Disney World in Orlando, more precisely on the huge site "ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex", which recalls that the sports channel, like ABC, is a subsidiary of the Disney group. This makes things easier for TV broadcasts.

This complex has a 5,000-seat hall, the HP Field House, and hotels capable of accommodating delegations and officials.

Loss of income

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 East / Lakers, Clippers, Denver, Utah, Oklahoma City , Houston, Dallas, Memphis to the West. As well as the six clubs within six or less wins of the 8e place in each conference: New Orleans, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio to the west, and only Washington to the east. Each team will first play eight regular season games.

This will allow the NBA to honor its contractual commitments for television rights, thus bringing in money to franchises affected by large loss of income (40%) due to the lack of ticket offices. Then it will give players, long deprived of competition, the opportunity to gain strength and recover their rhythm before the play-off games.

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Possible dams

At the end of these matches, the play-off table will be almost known, since the first seven of each conference will be directly qualified. The 8the and the last sesame will be, in the East as in the West, the object of a possible barrage. Two scenarios will be possible. If the 9e is more than 4 matches behind the 8e, the latter is directly qualified for play-offs, without playing a jump-off. If the 9e is 4 matches or less behind 8e, the two face off against each other. The 8the must win once to qualify on 9e 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.

Knee to the ground?

NBA boss Adam Silver has always conditioned the resumption of the season on the possibility of performing the necessary number of tests, without depriving the rest of the population. On this point, it therefore seems to have the guarantees. The Athletic reports that screenings will begin on June 22. It remains to refine the security protocols against the coronavirus, between temperature measurements, wearing of masks, social distancing.

If the NBA is about to rebound in the wonderful world of Disney, the real one in which players are currently swaying between the uncertainties and worries, linked to the coronavirus, and the anger and indignation accumulated for 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 collective resources and influence to solve these problems in a very concrete way ”said Adam Silver.

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The possibility of some players kneeling on the ground in Florida exists. What would not fail to speak, but would testify to the vitality of the NBA, determined to avoid an annus horribilis, between diplomatic crisis with China, tragic death of Kobe Bryant and pandemic of coronavirus always present.

The World with AFP


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