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Report: NBA return date targeted for July 31, Adam Silver says

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media during a press conference at the United Center on February 15, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Commissioner Adam Silver said in a board of governors meeting Friday that an NBA return date target is July 31, reports The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Sticking to that plan would require the league to cross many hurdles as it attempts to return from a suspended season in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

While NBA teams have allowed players to return to facilities for individual workouts, it has yet to decide on a return-to-play format with teams having less than 20 games left on their 2019-20 regular season schedules. Four specific return scenarios discussed ranged from including 16 to all 30 teams, per Charania:

— 16 teams in the postseason, meaning the league would jump straight to the playoffs based on the current standings

— 20 returning for a group play stage leading to playoff reseeding

— 22 teams returning with games to determine seeding, including a play-in for the final seeds

— All 30 teams coming back to reach 72 games with a play-in tournament

The Suns, at 26-39, are 21st in winning percentage league-wide and had 17 games left on their full schedule.

Six games out of the Memphis Grizzlies in the eighth seed, Phoenix sits right on the cutoff point of being included in play-in tournament scenarios.

The scenario of all teams reporting back for a regular season appears to be losing momentum, as Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan is against risking player safety just to play a handful of games, Charania reports.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that “there’s growing support” for the 22-team plan.

A vote for the league’s Board of Governors will come on Thursday, per Wojnarowski, and that vote is expected to approve a restart.

That mirrors concerns expressed by Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, whose team is 3.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with only six games remaining to reach the 72-game mark.

On a survey of 30 league GMs viewed by ESPN, 16 said they would elect to go straight to the playoffs. One could imagine those 16 GMs are executives of teams who would make the playoffs at present.

The NBA suspended play on March 11, and a July 31 return date would presumably allow teams to get through June cautiously and then, sometime around the start of July, start a month-long training camp.


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