When will the NBA return? Latest updates and big questions

When will the NBA return? Latest updates and big questions

What will the rest of the 2019-20 NBA regular season and playoffs look like? We’re tracking the big questions and updates as the league gets ready to return after beginning a suspension due to the coronavirus on March 11.

The NBA’s board of governors has approved the league’s plan for a 22-team return in Florida. The final details of that plan are still coming into focus.

Get the latest from ESPN’s insiders and analysts here.

MORE: Current NBA standings


How will this work?

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps break down what we know and don’t know about the NBA’s return-to-play plan here, including:

  • How will things look in Florida?

  • What are the safety and testing procedures?

  • What are the logistics for the regular season, play-in tournament and the lottery?

  • What’s next?

When will the season resume?

The NBA has instructed teams of a full training camp timeline, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

  • June 15: Players traveling outside the U.S. return to team markets

  • June 22: All other players return to team markets

  • June 23: Head coaches can begin working with players in voluntary workouts

  • July 7: Teams begin arriving in Florida

  • July 9-29: Training camp in Florida with three scrimmages per team

  • July 30: Seeding games begin (eight per team)

  • Aug: 17: Playoffs begin

  • Aug. 30: Family and guests of teams may arrive

  • Sept. 30: Target NBA Finals date

There will be 14 teams eliminated within 53 days of arriving — and only four teams will remain after 67 days. The six teams eliminated after eight regular-season games and a possible play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed would leave the bubble within 35 to 40 days. The NBA expects the conference finals will end within a maximum of 82 days.

Do all players want to restart the season?

As a faction of NBA players hold conference calls to discuss uncertainty about restarting the season in the bubble, the league and the union are agreeing on a plan that would allow players to stay home without consequences, sources told Wojnarowski.

As players have started to come to terms with the restrictive and isolated nature of the bubble — including no visitors until after the first round of the playoffs, nearly seven weeks after the opening of mid-July training camp — there has been increased dialogue about the prudence of restarting the season for a number of players, especially those on non-championship contenders.

Players are citing a number of concerns, including family situations, the inability to leave the Disney World Resort campus, the coronavirus pandemic and the implications surrounding the emergence of social justice causes in the country. Participants in Florida — including players — will not be allowed to leave the bubble environment without a 10-day quarantine upon their return to the Disney grounds, sources said.

Can teams make roster moves?

Yes, sources told ESPN that there will be a one-week transaction window — likely to start before July 1 — in which teams will be allowed to waive and sign players.

Bobby Marks and Kevin Pelton break down each team’s roster situation, how the new rules might apply and the available free agents that teams can sign.

Who are the favorites for the No. 8 seeds and the title?

ESPN’s NBA forecast makes predictions here.

What about the draft and lottery?

The lottery is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 25, with the draft landing in October after the conclusion of the season.

Here’s a breakdown of all the lottery odds and details.

What’s next for the eliminated teams?

The NBA and the union are still discussing details of an offseason program of camps, scrimmages and OTAs for the eight teams left out of the restart, sources told Wojnarowski. Executives with those teams have been in regular contact with each other and league.

Bobby Marks outlines each team’s big offseason questions here.

What’s going on with the league financials?

That’s the next big question.

Silver told players that 40% of league revenue comes from money built around game nights in arenas. Without that revenue, there could be a drastic decline in the projected $115 million salary cap and $139 million luxury tax for 2020-21. The initial cap projections were based on an expected $8 billion in basketball-related income (BRI), which is now expected to decrease by at least $1 billion. BRI takes into account a wide range of revenue from gate receipts to broadcast rights, and it is split roughly evenly between teams and players.

NBA players are already having 25% of their paychecks for this season withheld to account for the loss in revenue. That money — and potentially additional pay cuts — could be returned to teams if the final restart outcome doesn’t even out the BRI split.

The league and the players’ union will need to make adjustments to the CBA and how the business of basketball operates going forward. ESPN’s Bobby Marks breaks down what those negotiations will look like here.

Editor’s note: ESPN is owned by The Walt Disney Co.

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