The NBA is set to resume on July 30. They hope to finish the NBA finals by October 13 at the latest. 22 teams are included in the restart, including defending champions Toronto Raptors, top favoured team, Milwaukee Bucks, and their most likely challenger, the Los Angeles Lakers. All the games will be played in a controlled quarantine bubble in Disney World, Florida.
No fans will are allowed to watch the games at the venue. Instead, games will be aired LIVE by local and cable networks with existing agreements with the NBA.
The NBA lottery and draft are scheduled on August 25 and October 15, respectively. Free agency begins on October 18.
If everything goes according to plan, the 2020-21 season will start in December. It is still unclear if the new season will be played in the bubble or not.
All 22 teams will first play eight regular season games to determine the final playoff positions in their respective conferences. If there are teams that are four games behind the 8th seeded team, a play-in tournament will be staged to determine the final playoff spot.
Disney staff working at the NBA site have protocols to follow while working during the entire event. It includes the usual physical distancing, wearing masks and gloves and temperature/symptom checks. The staff is not allowed to stay in the same room as NBA participants at any given time.
NBA participants are expected to undergo tests and 14-day isolation quarantines before joining the event. Disney may also use Star Wars Stormtroopers to enforce security measures.
According to ESPN, it is estimated that the league bubble could contain 1,500-2,000 people. However, experts have pointed out a lot of weak points in the NBA-Disney plan which could potentially lead to a large NBA cluster infection. Nevertheless, the league is already aware of the risks and are consulting dozens of experts to mitigate the problem.
The obvious weak point is the interaction between the NBA participants and the Disney employees. While NBA participants are quarantined, according to Sandro Galea, Dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, the Disney staff are not. It creates a really complicated situation.
Abraar Karan, a physician from the Harvard Medical School, also pointed out that tests aren't perfect. Unless the NBA invests in daily testing to ensure consistent results, the league's comprehensive plan is a high-risk endeavour.