NBPA's Michele Roberts 'Surprised' by NBA's Tentative 2020-21 Season Start Date

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIJune 4, 2020

NEWPORT BEACH, CA - OCTOBER 1: Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association Michele Roberts speaks on the Women in Leadership panel at the espnW Summit held at Resort at Pelican Hill on October 1, 2018 in Newport Beach, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

The NBA's Board of Governors approved a plan Thursday for the 2019-20 season to resume July 31, which included a target for the 2020-21 campaign to begin on Dec. 1:

However, NBA Players Association executive director Michele Roberts is "surprised" by the notion that next season could start that soon:

Only the 22 winningest of the league's 30 teams will resume action at ESPN Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The remaining schedule will be played in one location without fans to protect personnel from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The NBA announced the suspension of this season March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

"It's time," Roberts told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne on May 26 about the season restarting. "It's been two-and-a-half months of, 'what if?' My players need some level of certainty. I think everybody does."

Roberts also called players from every team to gauge the consensus feeling about returning.

At the time the hiatus began, only the 53-12 Milwaukee Bucks, 49-14 Los Angeles Lakers, 46-18 Toronto Raptors and 43-21 Boston Celtics had clinched playoff berths.

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The NBA's official release outlined how the playoffs will be organized:

"The season restart would begin with eight "seeding games" for each returning team and include the possibility of a play-in tournament for the eighth and final playoff seed in each conference depending on combined records across regular-season games and seeding games. Once the 16-team playoff field is set, the NBA Playoffs would proceed in a traditional conference-based format with four rounds and best-of-seven series in each round. The NBA Finals would end no later than Oct. 12."

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the plan was approved on a 29-1 vote, with the Portland Trail Blazers as the lone team to vote against.

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