NBA owners approve 22-team return-to-play format
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The NBA Board of Governors voted to approve a 22-team return-to-play format Thursday, the league announced.

Twenty-nine of 30 clubs voted in favor of the 22-team format. The Portland Trail Blazers were the only club to vote against it due to the organization's belief that there were more competitive, innovative formats to choose from, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

"The board's approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season. While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalized with public health officials and medical experts," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in the league's announcement.

Silver added: "We also recognize that as we prepare to resume play, our society is reeling from recent tragedies of racial violence and injustice, and we will continue to work closely with our teams and players to use our collective resources and influence to address these issues in very real and concrete ways."

Teams will start training in Orlando beginning July 9-11 before the regular season resumes July 31, according to Wojnarowski. The latest date for a potential Game 7 of the NBA Finals is Oct. 12.

The 16 current playoff teams - along with the Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns, and Washington Wizards - will play eight regular-season games apiece at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando in order to determine playoff seeding.

Under the new format, the No. 8 seed in both the Eastern and Western Conference will automatically clinch a playoff spot if it leads the No. 9 seed by more than four games at the end of the regular season. If the 9-seed is within four games of the 8-seed, those teams will meet in a double-elimination play-in tournament.

A 9-seed will need to win two straight play-in games against the 8-seed to make the playoffs under this format, while the 8-seed will only have to win one.

The current plan is for teams to play games in two separate arenas, with multiple contests taking place each day, a source told Yahoo Sports' Keith Smith on Wednesday.

Preliminary expectations are that the regular season will be extended by 16 days and five or six games will be played per day, sources told Wojnarowski. Teams are reportedly expected to play one back-to-back in their remaining regular-season schedule.

The playoffs will feature two-to-four games per day during the earlier rounds and one-to-two contests per day during the later rounds, according to Smith. The NBA Finals, meanwhile, are expected to feature games every other day, per Wojnarowski.

NBPA player representatives will hold a conference call Friday to approve the 22-team format, Wojnarowski adds.

All players and coaches staying in Orlando will be permitted to go golfing and eat at outdoor restaurants in Disney, but they must practice social distancing while doing so, ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported Wednesday.

Additionally, the league plans to conduct daily coronavirus testing within the campus environment in Disney, Wojnarowski notes. If a player contracts the virus, the league will intend to have that individual quarantined and treated separately while testing other team members as they continue to play.

NBA owners approve 22-team return-to-play format
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