NBA players union approves restart plan for season

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Professional basketball players now have a likely date for returning to the hardwood.

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), which represents NBA players, has voted to accept the restart plan for the league, paving the way for a July 31 resumption of play. CBS Sports reported Friday afternoon that all 28 NBA players’ representatives on a conference call voted to accept the plan.

The NBA Board of Governors approved the plan on Thursday, with what ESPN reported as a 29-1 vote of the owners. It is not known which owner voted against it.

The league will be centred in and around Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, with 22 of the 30 NBA teams participating, including the world-champion Toronto Raptors.

Players, coaches and staff from the 22 teams will use the resort to play games and practice. Everyone involved will be subject to rigorous, nightly COVID-19 testing while in Florida. Anyone who tests positive will be ordered to isolate for at least seven days.

The 22 teams that will participate consist of the eight in each conference that were in playoff positions when the NBA paused play in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The other six clubs that will take part were within six games of a playoff spot at the pause.

The remaining eight teams in the league, including the Detroit Pistons, did not have qualifying win-loss records when play was stopped, and their season is considered completed.

CBS reported that players who live outside the United States or Canada can return to their team’s home market starting June 15, with all players reporting June 21. Daily COVID-19 testing will begin the next day and continue through the beginning of training camp. All teams are set to travel to the Orlando area on July 7 with the season resuming on July 31.