In what appears to be a formality, the 30 NBA owners will ratify their plan to return to the court in late July with the season finishing no later than October 12 according to multiple reports.
The plan projects that 22 teams will participate in the restart of the 2019-20 season in an eight-game regular season followed by a play-in tournament for the final seed in both the Eastern and Western Conference with the playoffs starting soon after. The remainder of the season will take place at the Walt Disney Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida.
One of the teams that will not be participating is the Cleveland Cavaliers who will finish with a 19-46 record, the worst in the Eastern Conference and sit 6.5 games behind Washington, the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference. The other teams not invited to finish the season include Golden State, Minnesota, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, and Charlotte.
It’s not a surprise that those teams will not be invited for a number of reasons.
Safety is without question the top priority for the NBA as they look to return to action and with players, coaches, and their families congregating in Orlando, the NBA is making sure that they keep the bubble as tight as possible with the coronavirus pandemic still on going. The state of Florida had it’s biggest one-day spike of reported new cases on Wednesday with over 1,300 new confirmed cases.
The eight teams who will be staying home are also easily out of the playoff picture and would’ve been had the season not been postponed back in March when the pandemic erupted in the United States that shut down not only sports but all businesses that weren’t essential. Golden State was the only mathematical team eliminated from the postseason prior to the shutdown but it’s highly unlikely that the other seven teams would not have made up the ground needed to reach the postseason.
It’s unfortunate for the Cavaliers that the pandemic happened when it did. The team was playing and responding well to new head coach J.B. Bickerstaff after the failed debacle that was the John Beilein experiment.
Cleveland posted a 5-6 record in the 11 games under Bickerstaff prior to the shutdown and players were showing more hustle and determination that you couldn’t see under the guidance of Beilein. They also were integrating Andre Drummond who the team had acquired from Detroit at the trade deadline. You also saw the growth of players such as Kevin Porter Jr., Larry Nance Jr., and Cedi Osman whose production increased during that 11-game stretch.
The team has been allowed to work out and stay in shape at the training facility over the last few weeks with the hope that they would be involved but now that hope has been faded. Now the question will be when will we see the Cavaliers back on the court?
With this current season now projected to finish in late September or early October, it’s unclear when the 2020-21 NBA season will begin but this Cavs roster will look practically the same which is something we’ll discuss in our next article.