OKC Thunder: NBPA approve return with minor tweaks to be negotiated

Commissioner of the NBA Adam Silver (L) and NBA player Chris Paul of OKC Thunder (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)
Commissioner of the NBA Adam Silver (L) and NBA player Chris Paul of OKC Thunder (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder can continue efforts for return as NBPA approve 22 team format for NBA return

This coming week will mark three months since the OKC Thunder and Utah Jazz game was postponed and the season put on suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic. And while it will be another six weeks until the NBA is back playing the NBA took another step in that direction Friday.

While it was expected the National Basketball Players Association would approve the 22 team format for the resumption of play they made it official today. Technically, it’s not fully approved as the NBPA indicated there are items within the plan requiring additional negotiation but Andrian Wojnarowski indicated both sides expect resolution of those matters.

Players had indicated a strong desire to return throughout the hiatus, particularly the superstars on teams poised to reach the NBA Finals. This 22 team format will afford teams a full training camp, a couple of preseason games, and eight ‘seeded’ regular-season games.

The second phase could include a play-in tournament for the eighth and ninth seeds or jump directly into the postseason. The key dates and details can be found here with additional updates here.

Again, although the plan was given a nod there remain tweaks to be made as hinted at in a very brief NBPA official statement.

"NBPA STATEMENT ON RETURN TO PLAY SCENARIONEW YORK, NY, June 5, 2020 – The NBPA today issued the following statement:“The Board of Player Representatives of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) has approved further negotiations with the NBA on a 22-team return to play scenario to restart the 2019-20 NBA season. Various details remain to be negotiated and the acceptance of the scenario would still require that all parties reach agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play.”"

OKC Thunder can target July 31st return to play

Notably, the OKC Thunder will be first in the loop on these matters given Chris Paul is the NBPA President. Paul has actively been involved in all areas of the development of the plan constantly being in contact with team representatives including calls with NBPA executive director Michelle Roberts and teams to gauge buy-in and discern whatever matters the players had concerns about.

In a series of tweets from Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania the duo provided insight on discussion points of the conference call and provided further clarification on the return plans.

Woj noted there will be 1600 people in the Orlando campus setting at any one time. The players will as originally stated be kept in a separate area meeting the ‘bubble campus setting’ requirements.

Any tourists or public visiting Walt Disney World would not have access to the area the NBA will be housed at. As for family and friends, Wojnarowski also noted no one will be allowed to be on the site until after the first round of playoffs and the thinking is very small groups of three.

Charania notes a convention center will provide the setting for practices with two courts and weight rooms with teams each getting three-hour windows to utilize the facilities.

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