(CBSDFW.COM) – A mid-summer return to NBA action is looking more and more likely now after a key approval by the Board of Governors.
It was announced Thursday that the league approved a competitive format that would resume play for 22 teams as early as July 31. Officials said it was first formal step in restarting the regular season.
The 2019-2020 season was put on hold back in March after a Utah Jazz player, Rudy Gobert, tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the NBA, the approved format would allow 16 teams — eight per conference — that were in playoff position to resume play along with six other teams that were six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their conference.
“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalized with public health officials and medical experts. We also recognize that as we prepare to resume play, our society is reeling from recent tragedies of racial violence and injustice, and we will continue to work closely with our teams and players to use our collective resources and influence to address these issues in very real and concrete ways.”
The Dallas Mavericks would be included in the 22 returning teams.
For an in-depth look into how the new format would operate, click here.
NBA officials said resuming the season would also be based on an agreement to use the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida to host all the games and practices.
According to officials, if the season were to restart on July 31, then the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery would be held on Aug. 25 and the 2020 NBA Draft would take place on Oct. 15.
If these tentative scheduled dates remain in place, then officials foresee the next season started on Dec. 1.