NBA Owners To Vote on Resuming Play, as Lakers, Bucks, Clippers Remain Title Favorites

Posted on: June 4, 2020, 08:15h. 

Last updated on: June 28, 2020, 07:41h.

On Thursday afternoon, the NBA is expected to vote on a plan to resume play later this year that would bring 22 of the league’s 30 teams to Walt Disney World in Florida to complete the 2019-20 season.

NBA Return COVID-19
Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers and LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers may soon be heading to Orlando to finish the 2019-20 season. (Image: CBS Sports)

ESPN reported Wednesday that the plan calls for 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference squads. Those are all teams either holding a playoff spot or within two games of the eighth and final spot.

Each team invited to Orlando would play eight regular-season games at the Disney complex, where they would be able to use the resort’s golf courses and restaurants as long as they abide by social distancing requirements.

If the ninth-seed finishes the regular season within four games of the eighth-place squad, the two teams will face off in a unique play-in tournament to determine the final playoff team. In order for the ninth- seed to advance, they would need to beat the eighth-seed twice, but the eighth-seed would only need to beat the ninth-seed once in order to advance.

The NBA is the latest league to start disclosing plans about how it would resume play. The NHL revealed their plans last week. Major League Baseball’s players and owners are in talks to start play. But the sides appear to remain far apart on key issues, including the number of games and how to split revenue.

The NBA suspended play on March 11, the same day Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19. While some smaller leagues had previously made announcements stopping play, the NBA’s decision set off a chain reaction where other major professional leagues in the US followed suit.

No Official Timeline Yet

There’s no official date yet as far as when play would actually resume. But the plan calls for teams to start workouts at their own locations next month before heading to Orlando and begin full-scale training to resume play.

If the league were to resume play in late July or early August, that would likely have the NBA Finals concluding in early October – which typically is the same time when NBA preseason games take place. That, of course means, the 2020-21 season will also be delayed and possibly truncated.

There are also questions about what to do with the remaining eight teams in the league. While they may not resume play, ESPN noted some officials with those teams have expressed concerns about what a long layoff between games may do to them competitively and financially.

The ESPN report mentioned the possibility of fall leagues for teams that aren’t heading to Orlando.

Sportsbooks Split on NBA Title Favorites

Not all sportsbooks have odds posted on the NBA Championship, but those that have posted odds are split among who they favor for the title.

FanDuel lists the Milwaukee Bucks at +240, with the Los Angeles Lakers at +270, and the Los Angeles Clippers at +340. The Houston Rockets are at +1200, and no other team is lower than +2000.

PointsBet lists the Bucks at +200, the Lakers at +250, the Clippers at +325, and again the odds rise sharply from there.

William Hill lists the Lakers as the favorites at +240, with the Bucks at +260, and the Clippers at +320. No other team is listed lower than +1600.

Caesars has the Lakers at +200, the Bucks at +275, and the Clippers at +325. From there, no other team has odds lower than +1500.