NBA Return Plan and Date
Lebron James and the LA Lakers will be the favorite to lift the trophy at Disney World. Alex Gallardo/EPA.

The NBA is inching closer to a season restart. On Friday, the league and Players Association approved further negotiations which would bring games to the Walt Disney World area in Orlando beginning July 31st.

According to the NBPA’s official statement on Friday, “Details remain to be negotiated and the acceptance of the scenario would still require that all parties reach agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play.”

The 22 NBA Teams that will qualify:

The top 22 teams will be invited to Orlando–the 16 current playoff teams as well as the six remaining teams with the best overall records: the Suns, Spurs, Pelicans, Kings, Wizards, and Blazers.

Thirteen of the teams hail from the Western Conference and nine from the Eastern Conference. Those clubs according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski are as follows:

NBA Return Structure

Each team will conclude the regular season with an eight-game schedule. The top four teams in each division will automatically compete in the postseason while the remaining six teams will face off in a double-elimination play-in tournament to determine the eighth seeds.

“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” added 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.”

Following the regular season, the playoffs would continue in traditional form with the first round, followed by conference semifinals, the conference finals, and NBA Finals all in a best-of-seven series. The goal is to have the postseason completed prior to the 2020 NBA Draft held on October 15th.