NBA teams are expecting the league office will issue guidelines around June 1 that will allow franchises to start recalling players who’ve left their markets as a first step toward a formal ramp-up for the season’s resumption, sources told ESPN.
Teams expect a similar timeline from the league on when they’ll be allowed to expand individual workouts already underway with in-market players to include more team personnel, sources said.
The NBA suspended the 2019-20 season on March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league is discussing a step-by-step plan for a resumption of the season that includes an initial two-week recall of players into team marketplaces for a period of quarantine, one to two weeks of individual workouts at team facilities, and a two- to three-week formal training camp, sources told ESPN.
Barring an unforeseen turn of events, many NBA owners, executives and National Basketball Players Association elders believe commissioner Adam Silver will green-light the return to play in June — with games expected to resume sometime before the end of July, sources said.
The NBA is still considering a two-site format for the return of the season, including Orlando’s Walt Disney World and Las Vegas, sources said.
The NBA and NBPA are meeting to discuss the structure of a return, including how the league will navigate the possibility of regular-season games, play-in tournaments, playoff formats and whether the full 30 teams will be brought back to finish the season, sources said.
Many players have stayed in market or returned for individual workouts with teams. Against the league’s recommendations, some players — including Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic — returned to Europe and elsewhere abroad during the league’s hiatus.
Silver indicated that the North American sports commissioners had indicated to the Trump administration and governors that they could need their assistance in helping players return to the country, and fully expected to receive it, sources said.