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NBA sets key dates for restart despite concerns

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Even as COVID-19 cases hit a new high in Florida and NBA players voice concern about the safety of living in a bubble in Orlando, the league has set a more firm timetable for the conclusion of its season.

Though health guidelines and safety protocol for the league have yet to be established since the NBA board of governors and the players union both approved the 22-team restart plan at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, players will begin coronavirus testing June 23, in preparation for the regular season resuming July 30, according to multiple reports.

Mandatory workouts will begin July 1 and teams will first arrive to Disney’s campus July 7 for additional health tests, before training camps open July 9, running through July 29. Teams will have an opportunity to shed game rust as early as July 21, with three scrimmages scheduled for each squad.

The NBA has not yet completed the eight-game regular-season schedules for each team — some teams had as many as 18 games left before the season was suspended on March 11 — but matchups will be set based on the remaining games. A potential play-in series for the final playoff spot would begin Aug. 15, if a conference’s No. 8 seed and No. 9 seed are within four games of each other. The No. 9 seed would need to sweep a two-game series to advance, while the No. 8 seed only needs to win one game.

The first round of the NBA playoffs could begin Aug. 17 — or earlier if a play-in series doesn’t occur — with limited family members/guests first allowed to enter the Disney premises on Aug. 30, when the eight conference semifinal matchups are set.

The conference finals are scheduled to start Sept. 15, with Game 1 of the NBA Finals coming on Sept. 30. Game 7 would end no later than Oct. 13.

All dates are subject to change.

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