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NBPA approves 22-team return-to-play plan

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Now we just need everyone to stay healthy

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Book those tickets to Orlando! (Well, at least if you’re one of the three family members allowed to accompany NBA players to the bubble at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.) NBA league play appears to be all systems go to resume on July 31, after the National Basketball Players Association approved the 22-team return-to-play plan on a call Friday afternoon.

The above-mentioned three family members will be permitted to arrive after the first round of the playoffs, part of an effort to keep the NBA bubble within a 1,600-person limit at all times. Players will receive daily coronavirus testing, with any positive test necessitating a minimum seven-day quarantine. Fortunately for players, it likely won’t be the fully invasive test, which people have described as being poked in the brain. I understand those guys make millions of dollars, but nobody wants to be poked in the brain on a daily basis.

The league intends to have each team play two or three exhibition games before the eight-game conclusion to the regular season. I’m assuming the league would televise those exhibition games for a basketball-starved public, which would mean we’re about six weeks away from seeing live action on the hardwood. I would personally take Orlando Summer League-level broadcast quality at this point.

There are still plenty of details to work out, not only for the resumption of the 2019-20 season, but also for the offseason and 2020-21 season schedule. Still, seemingly every day we receive encouraging news regarding the NBA’s return into our lives. At this point, the only downside of recent reports is we won’t see Joel Embiid riding Space Mountain.