The NBA Board of Governors approved a plan for a 22-team return to play format, with the season starting July 31st. Teams would be housed on Disney property, with Animal Kingdom Lodge and Coronado Springs the two currently in the running.
Formal broadcasting plans have not been announced, but TNT is reportedly going to have their broadcasters calling the Orlando games from Atlanta studios. This has been used in a variety of smaller sports in the past, and we’ve seen it for some international contests for major sports.
The bigger question now is what will happen with NBA reporters. The Daily Beast acquired a copy of an email sent by the president of the Professional Basketball Writers Association, Josh Robbins, regarding plans for the summer season. He reportedly said the league will allow a select group of journalists to the facilities, but if they leave the quarantine area, they will not be allowed to return.
The email said the league would divide the press into two tiers, with a smaller tier “in the bubble” that would be tested daily and allowed to interact with players and coaches. The league would provide food, but would not cover housing expenses. The second larger tier would allow players to attend games in person, but would not be allowed onto the Disney/ESPN campus, and “‘[i]n person, face-to-face interactions’ with any players, coaches, or team staff would be prohibited altogether.”
The tentative schedule right now has the league restarting play on July 31 and the NBA Finals tipping off on September 30th.