Report: NBA to approve 22-team plan for season restart

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A person with knowledge of the situation says the NBA has told the National Basketball Players Association that it will present a 22-team plan for restarting the season to the league’s board of governors on Thursday.

ESPN is reporting the plan will be approved in a vote Thursday afternoon by the NBA Board Governors.

All 22 of the teams coming to the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex on the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida would play eight games to determine playoff seeding before the postseason begins, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Wednesday because the league has not released its proposal publicly.

The Western Conference would have 13 teams going to Disney, and the Eastern Conference would have nine. In the West, Memphis, Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio and Phoenix would still have a mathematical chance of earning a spot in a play-in series. In the East, Washington would have to close to within four games of Orlando or Brooklyn to trigger a play-in series on that side of the bracket.

There are still some elements of the restart plan that could be changed, and other matters are still being negotiated — such as how much of a percentage of their contracts that players will lose because some regular season games will be canceled.

The NBA has suspended its season on March 11 “until further notice” after Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz became the first player in the league to test positive for the coronavirus. That move came only hours after the majority of the league’s owners were leaning toward playing games without fans in arenas.

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