So much has happened around the basketball world on Friday. The NBA announced that 16 of over 300 player tests conducted for COVID-19 have come back positive as it looks to resume the 2019-20 season.
At the same time, the state of Florida — where the NBA plans to resume its season — has seen nearly 9,000 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours. That has led to skepticism that the season will resume. We now have more information on that.
The Association announced on Friday that is has finalized a deal with the National Basketball Players Association to resume the season at Walt Disney World in Orlando on July 30.
“The National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Association announced today that they have finalized a comprehensive plan for a July 30 restart to the 2019-20 season, which includes stringent health and safety protocols, a single-site campus at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and the goal of taking collective action to combat systemic racism and promote social justice,” the two sides said in a joint statement, via NBA.com.
There’s two different layers to this statement. First off, the NBA is focusing on health and safety protocols at a “single-site campus.” Secondly, it will use the remainder of the season to help combat “systemic racism” around the United States, as the league states.
“The NBA and the NBPA confirmed today an agreement on health and safety protocols that will govern the resumption of the season,” the statement continued. “The rigorous program, which addresses risks related to COVID-19 and focuses on the well-being of players, coaches, officials and staff, was developed in consultation with public health experts, infectious disease specialists and government officials.”
A total of 22 teams will head to Orlando to resume the season. Each squad will play eight regular-season games before the playoffs start. If the No. 9 seed is within four games of the eighth seed in either conference, a best-of-three play-in-tournament between the two will take place.
“Leaders from the NBA and the NBPA have also discussed strategies to increase Black representation across the NBA and its teams, ensure greater inclusion of Black-owned and operated businesses across NBA business activities, and form an NBA foundation to expand educational and economic development opportunities across the Black community,” the statement read.
As has been mentioned in the past, multiple star players question resuming the season amid the ongoing civil strife in the United States following the murder of George Floyd by a then-Minneapolis police officer late last month. It’s pretty obvious that widespread protests and shows of solidarity with Black Lives Matter will take place in Orlando starting July 30.
As it relates to the ongoing pandemic, the increasing volume of cases in Florida could very well lead to the NBA changing its plans. That’s going to be something to keep an eye on over the next couple weeks.