The NBA board of governors voted Thursday to approve a 22-team format to restart the 2019-20 season July 31 in Orlando, Florida, the league announced.
Sources told ESPN that the vote was 29-1, with the Portland Trail Blazers voting against the proposal.
The National Basketball Players Association has been working closely with league officials on the plan, and the NBPA’s team player representatives have a conference call set for Friday to approve the proposal, sources told ESPN.
“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “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. 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.”
Under the plan, 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams will play eight regular-season “seeding” games, a possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed and playoffs at the Walt Disney World Resort.
The top 16 teams in the Eastern and Western conferences will be joined by teams currently within six games of eighth place in the two conferences — New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio, Sacramento, Phoenix and Washington.
The play-in tournament will include the No. 8 and No. 9 teams in a conference — if the ninth seed finishes the regular season within four games of the eighth. In that case, the No. 9 seed would need to beat the No. 8 seed twice to earn the playoff berth, while the No. 8 would need one win from the two potential games.