Coronavirus: NBA players agree to 22-team play-offs but union seeks more details over restart plan

Coronavirus: NBA players agree to 22-team play-offs but union seeks more details over restart plan

NBA players have requested further negotiations with league chiefs before signing off on plans to resume the season in Florida next month, a statement said on Friday (June 5).

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) said its board of player representatives had approved a fresh round of talks with the NBA on its 22-team return to play scenario.

“Various details remain to be negotiated and the acceptance of the scenario would still require that all parties reach agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play,” the NBPA said in a statement following a conference call involving player representatives.

ESPN reported that players had agreed in principle to the 22-team restart plan but needed to iron out the fine details.

The National Basketball Association’s board of governors on Thursday gave the green light to a plan to restart the coronavirus-interrupted season at Disney World in Orlando, Florida on July 31.

Under the NBA’s proposals, all teams will be based at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando to minimise the threat of Covid-19. Games will be played without spectators.

The play-offs would take place in August, with the NBA Finals set to be completed by Oct 12.

The league has also pencilled in a provisional Dec 1 start date for the 2020-2021 season.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver cautioned on Thursday that the restart plan was still in its early stages.

“We are in the equivalent of the first inning. We’ve got a long ways to go here,” he said. “We have always been looking for a safe way to resume, knowing we are going to be living with this virus for a while.”

The NBA suspended its season on March 11 as the Covid-19 pandemic erupted, leaving professional sport in North America at a standstill.

Under the restart proposal, 16 teams occupying the play-off berths in the Western and Eastern Conferences will be joined by six more teams to determine the final line-up.

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