The NBA and National Basketball Players Association announced finalized terms on June 26, 2020, for the league’s official restart. The season that was suspended on March 11 is set to return on Thursday, July 30 with all games being played on the Walt Disney World Resort campus in Orlando, Florida.
Naturally, player and employee health is top priority. There are numerous factors in play, but even as the NBA and Disney team up to keep everyone safe amidst the rising number of COVID-19 cases, some players are opting out of playing and forgoing their shot at an NBA Championship.
“We have worked together with the Players Association to establish a restart plan that prioritizes health and safety, preserves competitive fairness and provides a platform to address social justice issues. We are grateful to our longtime collaborator Disney for its role in playing host and making this return to play possible, and we also thank the public health officials and infectious disease specialists who helped guide the creation of comprehensive medical protocols and protections.”
— NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
In addition, the National Basketball Association is spearheading efforts to bring the social conversations of police brutality and systemic racial inequality of Black people to the forefront of its restart.
Among many initiatives, the NBA is allowing players to share a statement on social justice in place of the traditional name plate on their jerseys, as well as having “Black Lives Matter” prominently painted court-side at “The Arena.”
The 22 teams chosen were the top eight teams in both the Western Conference and Eastern Conference that held postseason positions when the regular season schedule was suspended, followed by teams within six games of a playoff spot in either conference.
The revised 2020 NBA schedule begins with “Seeding Games” in which every team plays eight games, ordered chronologically based on previously scheduled matchups prior to the shutdown. If there were any conflicts (i.e., A team didn’t have enough games with the 22 restart teams), “Matchup Balancing” took effect to give each team eight matchups — Four are designated as “home” while four are “away.”
All statistics and game outcomes will be attributed to the existing 2019-20 regular season to keep previous standings and accomplishments relevant. Seeding games begin July 30, with no more than seven played each day until August 14. Play-in games to determine the eighth-seed, if necessary, will occur on August 15-16.
After that, the 2020 NBA Playoffs begin on August 17.
Games will be played at one of three courts, which will be sanitized after every matchup with at least four hours between contests.
Complete 2020 NBA Schedule: Coronavirus Restart
Utah Jazz vs. New Orleans Pelicans — 6:30 p.m (TNT)
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers — 9 p.m. (TNT)
Orlando Magic vs. Brooklyn Nets — 2:30 p.m.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trail Blazers — 4 p.m. (NBA TV)
Phoenix Suns vs. Washington Wizards — 4 p.m.
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks — 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs — 8 p.m.
Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks — 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Miami Heat vs. Denver Nuggets — 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder — 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Los Angeles Clippers — 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Indiana Pacers — 7 p.m.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors — 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Wizards vs. Nets — 2 p.m.
Trail Blazers vs. Celtics — 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
Spurs vs. Grizzlies — 4 p.m.
Mavericks vs. Suns — 6 p.m.
Bucks vs. Rockets — 8 p.m. (ABC)
Kings vs. Magic — 9 p.m.
Raptors vs. Heat — 1:30 p.m.
Nuggets vs. Thunder — 4 p.m.
Pacers vs. Wizards — 4 p.m.
Grizzlies vs. Pelicans — 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Spurs vs. 76ers — 8 p.m.
Lakers vs. Jazz — 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Nets vs. Bucks — 1:30 p.m.
Mavericks vs. Kings — 2:30 p.m.
Suns vs. Clippers — 4 p.m.
Magic vs. Pacers — 6 p.m.
Celtics vs. Heat — 6:30 p.m. (TNT)
Rockets vs. Trail Blazers — 9 p.m. (TNT)
Grizzlies vs. Jazz — 2:30 p.m.
76ers vs. Wizards — 4 p.m
Nuggets vs. Spurs — 4 p.m.
Thunder vs. Lakers — 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Raptors vs. Magic — 8 p.m.
Nets vs. Celtics — 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Pelicans vs. Kings — 1:30 p.m.
Pacers vs. Suns — 4 p.m.
Heat vs. Bucks — 4 p.m. (TNT)
Clippers vs. Mavericks — 6:30 p.m. (TNT)
Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets — 8 p.m.
Lakers vs. Rockets — 9 p.m. (TNT)
Jazz vs. Spurs — 1 p.m.
Thunder vs. Grizzlies — 4 p.m.
Kings vs. Nets — 5 p.m.
Magic vs. 76ers — 6:30 p.m. (TNT)
Wizards vs. Pelicans — 8 p.m.
Celtics vs. Raptors — 9 p.m. (TNT)
Clippers vs. Trail Blazers — 1 p.m. (TNT)
Jazz vs. Nuggets — 3:30 p.m. (TNT)
Lakers vs. Pacers — 6 p.m. (TNT)
Suns vs. Heat — 7:30 p.m.
Bucks vs. Mavericks — 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Wizards vs. Thunder — 12:30 p.m.
Grizzlies vs. Raptors — 2 p.m.
Spurs vs. Pelicans — 3 p.m. (ABC)
Magic vs. Celtics — 5 p.m.
76ers vs. Trail Blazers — 6:30 p.m.
Rockets vs. Kings — 8 p.m.
Nets vs. Clippers — 9 p.m.
Thunder vs. Suns — 2:30 p.m.
Mavericks vs. Jazz — 3 p.m.
Raptors vs. Bucks — 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Pacers vs. Heat — 8 p.m.
Nuggets vs. Lakers — 9 p.m. (TNT)
Nets vs. Magic — 1 p.m.
Rockets vs. Spurs — 2 p.m.
Suns vs. 76ers — 4:30 p.m.
Trail Blazers vs. Mavericks — 5 p.m.
Celtics vs. Grizzlies — 6:30 p.m. (TNT)
Pelicans vs. Kings — 9 p.m. (TNT)
Bucks vs. Wizards — 9 p.m.
Pacers vs. Rockets — 4 p.m.
Raptors vs. 76ers — 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Heat vs. Thunder — 8 p.m.
Clippers vs. Nuggets — 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Aug. 13 (Game times TBD)
Wizards vs. Celtics
Pelicans vs. Magic
Bucks vs. Grizzlies
Mavericks vs. Suns
Spurs vs. Jazz
Kings vs. Lakers
Trail Blazers vs. Nets
Aug. 14 (Game times TBD)
Nuggets vs. Raptors
76ers vs. Rockets
Thunder vs. Clippers
Heat vs. Pacers
NBA Playoff Schedule
Start Date: August 17
Conference Semifinals: Aug. 31 – Sept. 13
Conference Finals: Sept. 15 – Sept. 28
NBA Finals: Sept. 30 – Oct. 13 (if necessary)
*All playoff rounds will be seven-game series
NBA Testing Protocols for COVID-19
ESPN obtained a 100-page document detailing the NBA’s plan for testing and keeping players safe. In part, the plan includes the following stipulations for players and personnel who may test positive at any time:
– They will be placed in “Isolation Housing,” which will be a house, hotel or other facility that is different from the individual’s previous hotel room, at a location in which no individuals who have not tested positive are residing.
– They will be administered a second COVID-19 test as soon as possible to guard against the possibility of a false positive. If that second test comes back positive, the person will remain in isolation housing.
– If the second test comes back negative, a third test will be administered between 24 and 48 hours after the first test. If that test also comes back negative, the person will be allowed to reenter the NBA campus. If it comes back positive, the person will remain in isolation.
Can LeBron James capture his fourth title, only for the Skip Bayless’ of the world to discredit him? Will Kawhi Leonard win a third championship with as many teams, then be heralded as the greatest player of the modern era? Can prince Zion Williamson do the unthinkable and lead his Pelicans to the NBA Finals? How many times will Kevin Durant tweet from his burner account that Kevin Durant would mop the floor with All-Star competition if he were healthy?
I don’t care if you like basketball or not. Sports are back, and this marathon is going to be fun.
Additional NBA schedule notes:
Oct. 16 — 2020 NBA Draft
Oct. 18 — NBA free agency begins at 6 p.m. ET
Nov. 10 — Training camp begins
Dec. 1 — Start of 2020-21 NBA season