You can now get a haircut, go to a restaurant, and very soon you will be able to watch major American team sports on television. We’ve almost made it. Congratulate yourself, and then get ready for the wildest summer of sports you’ve ever seen as leagues continue to put together their plans to restart.
NBA Going to Orlando
The NBA’s return won’t happen until July 31, but when it does, watch out. If you thought two months of playoffs with 16 teams was intense, the restarted NBA will feature 22 teams, eight seeding games, a play-in tournament, and then a full playoff schedule of 16 teams, with every game taking place at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando.
We’ll get the draft lottery at the end of August and October will feature the end of the NBA Finals, the Draft, and the start of free agency. Then, a new season is set to begin Dec. 1.
All of this has been approved by both the league and players union, but, as with everything in the sports restart world of COVID-19, it’s all subject to change.
NHL With 24-Team Playoffs
One-upping the NBA is the NHL’s agreed-upon restart format. The top four seeds in each conference will play a round-robin to determine final seeding, while the other 16 teams (seeds five through 12 in each conference) will play best-of-five series to determine who moves on to face those top seeds.
An exciting change and one many hockey fans have been pushing for long before this season, is that each playoff round will be reseeded. Instead of a hard bracket, which would render the round-robin of the top seeds moot, the top seed will always face the lowest remaining seed.
Teams have begun to return to their practice facilities, and the league hopes to resume play by late July/early August in two yet-to-be-selected hub cities – one for all Eastern Conference games and the other for all Western Conference games.
MLB Remains A Mystery
For weeks we have heard: “Don’t worry, there is too much money at stake for baseball to cancel its full season.”
Maybe that’s the problem. There is simply too much money at stake, both for 2020 and beyond, for MLB and its players union – two long-time adversaries – to come together.
Sliding scales, prorated pay, and different season lengths have all been discussed. Even the dreaded label “salary cap” has been said.
They’ve blown past their self-imposed June 1 deadline to get a deal done, but negotiations do continue. So does that mean there is still hope for a baseball season? Las Vegas oddsmakers say yes.
There is still a 75% chance a season will be played. But with each passing day, that becomes a longer bet.
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