NBA: 14 of 22 teams will finish in less than eight weeks when season restarts in end-July

(REUTERS) – With some NBA players reportedly concerned about the length of their stay in the league’s Orlando-area “bubble,” the league plans to have the vast majority of teams done for the season relatively quickly.

ESPN reported Thursday (June 11) that 14 of the 22 teams headed to Walt Disney World Resort for the restarted season will be eliminated from contention with 53 days of their arrival.

Just four of the 22 teams reportedly will still be playing after 67 days.

The league and the National Basketball Players Association have been hashing out details of the return-to-action plan in the wake of the NBA’s hiatus prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. The season was halted March 11 when Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert tested positive for Covid-19.

On Wednesday, ESPN reported that the NBA and the union were discussing whether to allow players to voluntarily skip the season’s resumption with no consequences. A conference call that featured up to 50 players reportedly saw some of the participants express concern about the Disney World protocols.

Among the major sticking points is the fact that visitors won’t be permitted in the “bubble” until the end of the first round of the playoffs, almost seven weeks after players arrive at Disney World, according to the report.

Players who leave the facility reportedly would be subject to a 10-day quarantine upon their return.

Players are tentatively scheduled to arrive at Disney World from July 9-11.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that the league is now aiming for a July 30 return date, one day earlier than originally announced.

No reason for the change was provided.

Eight teams that were far back in the standings will not resume their seasons.

The other 22 teams will each play eight regular-season games, and one or two play-in games would be held for the last postseason berth in each conference if the eighth- and ninth-place teams wind up within four games of each other.

The standard playoff format would then be followed, with four rounds of best-of-seven series. The NBA Finals are due to start by Sept 30, according to ESPN. Game 7, if necessary, could be played as late as Oct 12.

Revised roster rules have been agreed to by the NBA and NBPA, according to ESPN. Free agents from the United States could be signed as replacements for absent players, but international players who weren’t in the NBA this season can’t be added.

Regular-season rosters reportedly will be increased to as many as 17 points, with several on two-way contracts governing play in the NBA and the developmental G League. Playoff rosters would be pared to 15 players, with two inactive for each game, per the ESPN report.

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