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NBA is reportedly expected to approve a plan to continue the season with 22 teams


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(CNN) — The NBA’s return is imminent — but it could only be with 22 teams.

The NBA’s Board of Governors is expected to approve a league proposal that would restart the season in Orlando utilizing a 22-team format, according to ESPN and The Athletic.

Three-fourths of the 30 NBA teams must also ratify the proposal. That decision is set to be made Thursday at 12:30 p.m., ESPN reported.

The new plan would see 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams play eight regular-season games, before beginning the playoffs — which, in past seasons, has ended in early June.

The top eight teams in both conferences will be a part of the 22 teams playing. The remaining six teams will be those within six games of eighth place: New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trailblazers, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards, according to ESPN sources.

The restart would begin July 31, ESPN reported. And if there’s an NBA Finals Game 7, it would be scheduled for October 12.

When asked about the reports, the NBA did not have a comment.

The NBA suspended its season after a member of the Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus on March 11. The coronavirus pandemic forced many US sports organizations to consider adjustments, including canceling events and holding games without fans.

Under this new plan, teams would be moving to train in Orlando by the end of July, ESPN reported. Players will be tested for coronavirus every day, and if someone tests positive they will be removed and treated individually, ESPN reported.

All this comes amidst reports that the season could resume at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida, as a single campus for games, practices and housing, according to NBA spokesman Mike Bass.

Some families, particularly for teams expecting to make deep runs into the playoffs, may also be allowed in the “bubble,” as the arrangement has been called.