Boston Celtics

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 17: The 2017 NBA All-Star logo is seen on a net prior to the 2017 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge at Smoothie King Center on February 17, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

98.5 The Sports Hub staff report

Although the NBA is unsure the format that they’ll go with upon a return, the league has circled July 31 as their target date for a return to the court, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

This target date from NBA commissioner Adam Silver comes almost three weeks after he outlined the main points of a potential return to action, and with Orlando’s Disney World emerging as the likely host for the league’s return. Disney’s Bob Iger has remained in close contact with Silver and Co. throughout this process, and it’s believed that the location, with a viability bolstered by the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, will be more than enough to house the NBA without an issue.

As noted, the format in which the NBA will return remains unknown at this point in time. There’s been talk of a World Cup-esque tournament, a play-in, finishing the regular season and then going with a play-in, or going right to a 16-team postseason.

The NBA was the first of the North American ‘big four’ to suspend their season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That decision came in the immediate aftermath of a positive coronavirus test by Utah’s Rudy Gobert (which spread to teammate Donovan Mitchell) prior to a Mar. 11 meeting with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The NHL and MLB followed shortly thereafter, and all four leagues have been impacted by a positive test by either a coach or on-roster talent.

At the time of the pause, the Bucks sat atop the East (and entire league) at an impressive 53-12, while the Lakers were the West’s best, at 49-14. The Celtics, meanwhile, at 43-21, were the third-best team in the East at the time of the stoppage.

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