NBA return-to-play vote, acceptance expected Thursday

Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James
Giannis Antetokounmpo (left) and LeBron James (right). (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

This upcoming week should see a bona fide plan put in place for the NBA’s return to play this summer. 

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne first reported that a board-of-governors vote scheduled for Thursday is expected to approve NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s proposed format that would see basketball return to Orlando, FL. 

The Florida city would serve as the central hub for the 22 teams returning to action where they will be housed and able to compete at Walt Disney World Resort’s expansive sporting complex.

Those 22 teams — the 16 currently in playoff spots and the six within six games of the No. 8 spot in their respective conference — will likely finish the regular season, possibly in a truncated fashion, and include play-in games to decide the final seedings with a July 31 target date for resumption. 

That at least is the plan that has the most momentum heading into the week, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne. A 20-team return could also be in the cards.

Other formats include jumping straight into a traditional, 16-team postseason and resuming the regular season with all 30 teams — the latter reportedly no longer up for “legitimate consideration.”

However, the NBA Players’ Association has been adamant that there should be at least a few regular-season games — whether that’s to decipher final seedings or to help players ramp up to the demanding rigors of playoff basketball.

In total, there were four plans up for return-to-play consideration. 

The proposal would need a three-fourths approval from the voting board of governors — a number that is expected to be surpassed easily. 

The NBA season was halted on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Over the ensuing 10 weeks, notable players and personalities ranging from Kevin Durant to James Dolan, to Doris Burke tested positive for the virus but made full recoveries.