After the NBA's Board of Governors reportedly approved the league's return-to-play plan for the 2019-20 season Thursday, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported some key dates for the league moving forward.
According to Charania, teams will begin training camp on June 30 and then travel to Orlando, Florida, on July 7. The 22-team regular season to determine the playoff teams will then begin July 31.
Free agency will reportedly start on Oct. 18 after the conclusion of the season. The NBA is targeting a start date of Nov. 10 for training camp ahead of the 2020-21 season, with the 2020-21 regular-season openers on Dec. 1.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that the Board of Governors approved the plan to resume the 2019-20 season by a 29-1 vote. Wojnarowski also reported that the NBA is planning to hold the draft lottery on Aug. 25 and the 2020 NBA draft on Oct. 15.
The 2019-20 season has been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but with most teams opening their facilities and allowing players to work out under certain conditions, a plan is now in place to finish the campaign.
Wojnarowski provided specifics on the plan Wednesday, including how all games will be played at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando with no fans in attendance. The top eight teams in each conference will return to play, as will any teams currently within six games of eighth place in either conference.
The teams that fit under the latter category currently are the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns in the West, and the Washington Wizards in the East.
Each of the remaining 22 teams will play eight regular-season games to determine playoff seeding. If the ninth-place team is within four games of the eighth-place team at the end of the regular-season, then the two teams will embark upon a brief play-in tournament. The No. 8 seed would need one win and the No. 9 seed would need two wins to make the playoffs.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers are currently the top two teams in the NBA and the favorites to reach the NBA Finals. Milwaukee tops the Eastern Conference with a 53-12 record, while the Lakers are first in the West at 49-14.
Finishing the 2019-20 season will impact the start of the 2020-21 season. Regular-season play normally begins in late October, but the current plan is for the 2020-21 season to start on Dec. 1.
It remains uncertain if a full 82-game slate will be played next season and if or when fans will be permitted to attend games.