Basketball is coming back. The Golden State Warriors are not coming back, but basketball is coming back.
The NBA has agreed on a plan to return, and while players are justifiably concerned about a resumption muting the vital conversation about systemic racism and police brutality in the country — as well as concerns about the coronavirus — all signs point towards things moving forward as planned.
And on Monday, the WNBA announced plans for its own bubble season at the IMG Academy in Florida — a 22-game season (down from 36), with full playoffs and full pay (as long as the playoffs are played).
So basketball is returning, and it’s returning soon. And while you won’t have any Warriors basketball to watch for quite some time, I’m going to assume that you love the Warriors in large part because they are a basketball team, and you love basketball. So you might not be as excited about basketball’s return as you would be if the Dubs were included, but you’re probably pretty excited nonetheless.
So here’s what you should be excited for, and when.
June 21 — players report
NBA players report to their teams, at their home facilities on this date. It’s when you’re likely to start seeing increased coverage and reports — notes of who’s in shape, who’s nursing injuries, etc.
June 22 — transaction window opens
Hey, the Warriors actually are involved in this one! The transaction window is for all 30 teams, not just the 22 headed to Disney Resort, which means Golden State can still make some moves, like signing players to multi-year, partially guaranteed contracts.
June 30 — training camp begins
Two training camps in one year! Nobody asked for this, but that’s exactly what we got.
Once again, I’d expect a lot more reports to start coming out at this time, as well as some footage from teams. You can officially start getting pumped about watching basketball again.
July 7 — travel time
Hold your breath, because all the NBA teams and players are headed to Orlando, and if things are going to get derailed, now seems like the time.
July 24 — WNBA season begins, maybe
Apologies for the lack of WNBA dates here, but we currently only have one: July 24, when the league is hoping to start their season. They haven’t committed to that date though.
But if all goes well, this is when live basketball games will start appearing on your TV again. The WNBA will televise games on ESPN, NBA TV, and CBS Sports Network.
The regular season is a bit longer than the NBA’s resumed regular season, but the postseason is a bit shorter. As a result, the two leagues should end at roughly the same time.
July 30 — NBA season resumes
The NBA regular season will restart on July 30, and run until mid-August. Each of the 22 teams will play 8 games as they jockey for playoff positioning.
Games will be televised as normal: On ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV.
Aug. 15 — play-in tournaments
For a few days, the league will have play-in tournaments, if necessary, for the eighth seeds. This is a new thing for the league, and it’s either exciting, stupid, or both.
Aug. 17 — plaaaaaaaaayyyyooooffffffffs
Everyone loves the playoffs. Yes, it would be better if the Warriors were in them, but they’re still great, and it’s still a holiday when the Houston Rockets inevitably get eliminated.
The playoffs are keeping the same format as usual, and the second round will start on Aug. 31, with the Conference Finals beginning on Sept. 15. That leads to . . .
Sept. 30 — NBA Finals begin
How long ago was that? LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant have switched teams twice since then; Joe Johnson, Roy Hibbert, and Joakim Noah were All-Stars; and likely soon-to-be two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was averaging 6.8 points per game as a rookie.
It will be weird. But it’s still the greatest event in the league.
And with that, the resumption of basketball will have ended, as swiftly as it began. And we’ll gear up for the 2020-21 season, which the NBA has already targeted for Dec. 1.
Basketball. Whew. Yay.