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Basketball

If you made plans for the summer (audacious move), cancel them now. With the NBA finally making their return-to-play Facebook official, our summer lineup is set.

June 08, 2020
RICK BOWMER/AP
RICK BOWMER/AP

The GIST: If you made plans for the summer (audacious move), cancel them now. With the NBA finally making their return-to-play Facebook official, our summer lineup is set.

When will the NBA return?: Thanks to the NBA players association approving the NBA’s restart plan, Friday, July 31st is the magic date. The final schedule is still TBD, but 22 of the league’s 30 teams will take part in the restart.

  • To prep for the big day (TBH, not that different from a wedding day), one-week training camps will begin on June 30th at each team’s home facility before everyone travels to Disney World on July 7th.
     
  • Then the 22 teams will play eight “seeding games,” with postseason entry determined by winning percentage and tiebreakers. Let the 53-day countdown begin!

Any WNBA news?: Rumor has it they’re hoping for a July 24th start date. The league has apparently proposed a shortened regular season with just 22 games (instead of 36), which would all likely take place in Florida (although Vegas is still an option).

  • Now it’s up to the players union to decide if the proposal is financially and logistically feasible. Keep your ears to the ground.

What about the NHL?: They’re gunning for a late July or early August start date, and to help make that possible, the league is transitioning to Phase 2 of their Return To Play plan today. This phase will allow players to return to their home facility and take part in voluntary on- and off-ice practices in groups of up to six. A stride in the right direction.

  • Phase 3 of the plan involves opening training camps and Phase 4 includes finishing the regular season, a seeding tournament and ensuring the Stanley Cup Playoffs go off without a hitch.
     
  • Speaking of hitches, there are two: the league and the players association still have to figure out roster sizes and pick two “hub” cities.

What else can I watch this summer?: Lots of soccer. The NWSL’s month-long return-to-play tournament, the Challenge Cup, starts on June 27th in Salt Lake City, Utah. And players are praising their league for consulting with players who are also mothers to learn how to best accommodate their children while the teams live in nearby hotels. About it.

  • But much to the chagrin of the league, her team and her coach, there is one key player who won’t be participating: superstar Megan Rapinoe. All the power to her.
  • Meanwhile, the MLS is looking at an early July start date, Spain’s La Liga begins this Thursday and the English Premier League starts next Wednesday. The PGA Tour also returns Thursday with the Charles Schwab Challenge.