NBA owners approve 22-team season restart plan

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A sign marking the entrance to ESPN's Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World is seen Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Kissimmee, Fla. The NBA has told the National Basketball Players Association that it will present a 22-team plan for restarting the season at Disney. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

(AP)

The NBA took a major step toward getting back on the court Thursday, with the league’s Board of Governors approving a 22-team format for restarting the league season next month at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida.

The vote was 29-1, with Portland casting the dissenting vote, said a person with knowledge of the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the league did not publicly release voting details. The National Basketball Players Association has scheduled a meeting for Friday to vote on the plan.

Teams would arrive at Disney around July 7 and play an eight-game slate of games starting July 31 at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex. All teams will stay, practice and play at Disney and the NBA Finals — which would have started Thursday if not for the coronavirus pandemic that caused the NBA to suspend its season on March 11 — will likely stretch into October.

“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalized with public health officials and medical experts.”