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When is the NBA returning? Here’s what we know so far

Why resume play during the pandemic? “If you’re answering honestly, it’s for money,” one agent allegedly said.

When is the NBA returning? Here’s what we know so far
[Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images]

When will the NBA return? You’re not the only one asking. Searches for the phrase surged in May, ahead of similar queries for other major leagues.

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Now, after halting play over the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is closer to answering that question for fans.

Here’s what we know so far about the plan NBA owners proposed today, including dates for when the 2019-2020 season might resume, when the 2020-2021 season is expected to start, and more. A joint statement from the NBA Board of Governors emphasized that the board’s decision marks “the first formal step among many required to resume the season.” That means the dates below may change.

  • July 31: The 2019-2020 season resumes with 22 teams in Orlando at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex—notably, without fans.
  • August 25: The tentative date for the 2020 NBA draft lottery.
  • October 15: The tentative date for the 2020 NBA draft, with free agency starting on October 18.
  • December 1: The regular 2020-2021 season begins.

While the board has approved the plan, it must also get approval from health officials in Florida, from the National Basketball Players Association, and from Disney, which owns the Orlando venue.

In mid-May, an unofficial poll reportedly found that many players wanted to resume play, pending additional safety measures.

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