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NBA players approve 22-team Orlando return plan, discuss details

A sign marking the entrance to ESPN's Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World is seen Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. The NBA has told the National Basketball Players Association that it will present a 22-team plan for restarting the season at Disney. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The National Basketball Players Association on Friday approved “further negotiations with the NBA” for a 22-team restart to the 2019-20 season, the union announced on its website.

“Various details remain to be negotiated and the acceptance of the scenario would still require that all parties reach agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play,” the statement added.

NBA owners on Thursday passed measures for the teams to gather at Disney World in Orlando to resume the season starting July 31. All 22 teams will play eight games of a regular season before a potential play-in tournament and the playoffs.

In its conversations with players Friday, the league added more details, including safety protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, those include nightly swab tests, a 1,600 person maximum and travel parties of 35 people tops. The expectation is that there will be two to three exhibition games for each team and that the season would continue if a player tested positive; a player would require a seven-day quarantine minimum if he tested positive.

Practice limits and setups were discussed, as was pay and crowd noise options — using crowd noise from the NBA 2K video game is a possibility.

Charania added that it was called “unlikely” that the 2020-21 season will begin on Dec. 1 and that date will be negotiated down the road.

“We still have a lot of work to do with the players’ union,” Suns owner Robert Sarver told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Thursday. “We have work ahead of us with our partners at Disney.

“We’re in constant contact with government authorities, public health officials, including the CDC. So this was step one, and as [Commissioner] Adam [Silver] told us, this is like the beginning inning of a baseball game. Step one, we agreed on what we want to do. Now we’ve got to go do it, and there’s a lot to be done.”


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