NBA owners intend to approve a league proposal on a 22-team format to resume the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Fla.
League sources told ESPN and The Athletic on Wednesday that a conference call and vote will take place at 12:30 p.m. EST Thursday. According to the outlets, the league’s board of governors are expected to sign off on the return-to-play plan.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the league’s advisory/finance committee have already informed teams of the plan, which includes playing at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, according to ESPN. The proposal consists of 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams, eight regular-season games, a possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed, and postseason play.
The top 16 teams in the West and the East will be joined by teams currently within six games of the eighth seed in the two conferences — the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards.
The play-in tournament will include the No. 8 and No. 9 teams in the standings, if the ninth seed ends the regular season within four games of the eighth spot, according to The Athletic. If a play-in series occurs, it would essentially be a best-of-two matchup, where the No. 9 seed would have to win two head-to-head encounters to grab the No. 8 spot.
Teams will start training at team facilities in July and advance to full training camps in Orlando later that month, according to ESPN. Under the plan, the season would resume near the end of July and the NBA Finals would take place in October.
The NBA also will have daily testing for COVID-19 at the Disney campus, according to ESPN. If a player tests positive for the virus, the league would remove that individual from the team to quarantine and continue to play.
The NBA suspended its season in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.