COVID-19-impacted NBA season to resume in late July

Anthony Edwards is favourite to be the no.1 draft pick

The NBA is set to resume in late July with 22 teams to do battle in a COVID-19-reduced season, after the league’s board of governors approved a raft of changes to the format.

With the NBA having been delayed for close to three months it is a welcome announcement for the shell-shocked USA, which is also in the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the country.

The NBA made the announcement that 22 of the league’s 30 teams would play eight games to determine play-off seedings, while also very much leaving the door open for a play-in tournament for the final spot in both the Western and Eastern Conference fields.

Prominent media organisations are reporting that 29 teams voted in favor of the proposal, with just the Portland Trailblazers arguing against the restart, which will see the reduced NBA season played at the Disney Campus, near Orlando, Florida.

Many details of the proposed restart are still to be finalised, including putting a testing protocol in place and what impact playing a reduced season behind closed doors will have on team’s finances.

“The board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

“While the Covid-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalised with public health officials and medical experts.

“We also recognise that as we prepare to resume play, our society is reeling from recent tragedies of racial violence and injustice, and we will continue to work closely with our teams and players to use our collective resources and influence to address these issues in very real and concrete ways.”

With so much uncertainty surrounding the NBA season, basketball betting sites have been reluctant to frame any markets, and this latest announcement has not changed anything.

A check of several of the most popular betting sites in the USA revealed few NBA betting markets, although it is possible to wager on who will be drafted at no.1 later this year.

The NBA draft has been pushed back to October 15, while the NBA Draft Lottery will be held on August 25.

Georgia product Anthony Edwards is the -110 favourite to be taken with the no.1 pick overall, while James Wiseman (+175) and LaMelo Ball (+250) are also attracting some betting interest in this market.

The World Gambling List expects more NBA betting markets to become available when a fixture is finalised for the restarted NBA season.

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