NBA Approves July 31 Return Date, With Playoffs Running Through October

NBA Season Back Games

This is faaaaaan-tastic news for NBA fans: After a four-month layoff, the league has approved a plan to resume the 2019-20 regular season on July 31, it announced on Thursday.

The league’s board of governors voted to approve a plan to bring 22 of the 30 NBA teams — excluding those without a realistic shot at the postseason — to Orlando at the Walt Disney World Resort, where they will play eight regular season games each, followed by a possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed (if necessary) and then the playoffs, which could stretch to October 12 at the latest. (The NBA players still need to approve the plan to make it official, but that’s expected to just be a formality.)

Teams will start training camp in their respective cities in July before advancing to a full training camp in Orlando. Additionally, the NBA draft lottery will take place on August 25, with the draft set for October 15. The following season — the 2020-21 NBA season — is tentatively expected to start December 1.

In response to the global coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 385,000 lives around the world and more than 109,000 in the U.S. alone, all NBA players who return will be tested daily, and any player who tests positive will be quarantined, allowing other team members to play on. The players will also be expected to practice social distancing when not on the court. The NBA regular season came to an abrupt halt on March 11 after Rudy Gobert — an All-Star player for the Utah Jazz — tested positive for COVID-19, with the league suspending all play indefinitely.