Based on a competitive format approved by the NBA Board of Governors and the NBPA, 22 teams will return to play during the 2019-20 NBA season. The 22 teams consist of the 16 teams (eight per conference) in current playoff positions and the six teams that are currently six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their respective conferences.
Teams to Participate
A total of 22 teams will return to play this season. This is based on the competitive format that the Board of Governors approved. The returning teams are the 16 teams in current playoff positions and the six teams that are currently six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their respective conferences.
Each returning team would play eight seeding games, as selected from its remaining regular-season matchups
At the conclusion of the seeding games, the seven teams in each conference with the best-combined records across regular-season games and seeding games would qualify for the playoffs
If the team with the eighth-best combined record in its conference is more than four games ahead of the team with the ninth-best combined record in the same conference, then the team with the eighth-best record would earn the eighth playoff seed
If the team with the eighth-best combined record in its conference (Team A) is four games or fewer ahead of the team with the ninth-best combined record in the same conference (Team B), then Teams A and B would compete in a play-in tournament to determine the eighth playoff seed
To earn the eighth playoff seed, Team A would need to defeat Team B once and Team B would need to defeat Team A two games in a row
The 2019-20 season would conclude with a traditional playoff format with best-of-seven series in the first round, conference semifinals, conference finals, and the NBA Finals
Total games to be played by teams
It varies by team, but most of the 22 teams would play 72 or 73 games after the eight "seeding games" are added to their regular-season game total. The Dallas Mavericks would have played the most total games (75) and the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers would have played the least (71).
TIMELINES AND LOCATION
• July 31 is the tentative start date. The finals would end no later than Oct. 12
• The 2019-20 restart is contingent on an agreement with The Walt Disney Company to use Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla., as a single site for a campus for all games, practices, and housing for the remainder of the season
• The 2020-21 NBA regular season would likely begin on Dec. 1, 2020, provided the games begin on July 31st
Los Angeles Lakers
Oklahoma City Thunder
Portland Trail Blazers
New Orleans Pelicans
San Antonio Spurs
Guidelines and Medical Protocols for the season
What happens if a player tests positive for COVID-19?
The player will be isolated and retested to make sure there isn't a false positive. If it is confirmed, then the player will begin treatment and will undergo a period of rest and recovery lasting at least 14 days. Players will be restricted from exercise and will have to pass cardiac tests before a return to basketball is even considered. Players will be tested regularly.
If a player doesn't want to go?
If a team determines a player is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, he can be designated a "protected" player who does not have to report and will not lose salary. Additionally, a panel of three medical experts will review players' medical histories and could determine whether a player has a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. In that case, a player is "excused" and will also not be docked salary.
Players have the option to challenge the "protected" status and a panel of physicians will have ultimate authority. However, if a player doesn't fall into either criterion and still declines to go, he will lose a corresponding number of game checks. For example, a player making $10 million per year will lose roughly $108,000 per game missed for up to 14 games. Players with season-ending injuries who will be unable to play in Orlando, such as Brooklyn Nets stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will still receive their full pay.
Things to know upon arrival in Disney World
Teams will have to self-isolate in their hotel rooms for up to 48 hours until they have two negative COVID-19 tests. This is to make sure there is no one in the bubble with the virus
Players and staff can't go into one another's rooms. Through July 21, players cannot socialize with players staying at other hotels (three hotels are being used) to limit spread if there is an outbreak
Each team will have its own chef and food room that is open up to 24 hours a day, though they can eat with other players outside. They will also be able to order room service using an app
Everyone on campus will be required to use a Disney MagicBand unless they're playing basketball or working out. MagicBands will be used as hotel room keys and to check-in for coronavirus testing and other medical screenings
At each hotel, there will be a players' lounge with video games, card tables, ping pong, and other recreational activities
Each team will have 37 people inside the NBA campus. That will include up to 17 players, as well as support staff (including coaches, trainers, strength coaches, equipment managers, security, and front-office personnel). Teams are being encouraged to bring a mental health professional. As teams advance in the playoffs, they will be allowed to add and swap out members of the travel party. Teams can add two staffers after advancing past the first round of the playoffs, and two more after the conference semifinals.
Mask usage is required when indoors by everyone except when eating or when in an individual's room. They are not required when doing activities outside. Players, referees and bench players and coaches who sit in the first row of seating will not be required to wear masks during games.
Games and Audience
There will be games at three different arenas. There will be no outside fans, but you will see people in stands. A limited number of players can attend games they are not playing in and there will be limited media, team executives, league and union personnel, and even some sponsors allowed in. Players will spread out over two rows of seating. There will be a public-address announcer and numerous cameras to capture the events.
The Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Springs, the Grand Floridian, and the Yacht Club will be the three hotels occupied by teams.