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NBA targeting July 31 return date; 30-team return 'unlikely'

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the NBA is targeting a July 31 return date.

As June approaches, the NBA has been on hiatus for nearly three months.

But following a call between the league's Board of Governors on Friday, a return to action appears to be in sight.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, NBA commissioner Adam Silver revealed on the call that the league is targeting a July 31 return date. As for what the league's return will look like after a near-five-month hiatus, that remains unclear, but given concerns regarding player health and safety, it's unlikely that all 30 NBA teams will be getting back to action this summer, according to Charania.

Among the scenarios still being discussed for a potential return are the following:

  • 16 teams returning to play in a traditional playoffs format
  • 20 teams returning for a soccer World Cup-style group play format
  • 22 teams returning with games to determine seeding and a play-in tournament for final playoff seed(s)
  • All 30 teams returning to complete a 72-game regular season, with a play-in tournament for the final postseason seedings

According to Charania, results from a survey of the league's general managers showed that most general managers didn't want the season to end any later than Oct. 1. Meanwhile, 53 percent voted to maintain traditional playoff seeding. while 47 percent voted for reseeding.

On March 11, the NBA suspended its season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). In the days and weeks following, players including Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell, Marcus Smart and members of the Los Angeles Lakers also tested positive for the virus.

If and when it does resume play, the NBA is expected to do so in Orlando without fans in attendance at games.

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