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30-team NBA return reportedly ‘unlikely’ as league eyes July 31 target date

NBA Announces Possible Re-Opening Of Team Practice Facilities Starting May Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Friday, the NBA’s Board of Governors reportedly met for two hours, via phone, with the topic of restarting the 2019-20 season as the central agenda item. Though no formal agreements were reached, news is emerging from reporters and, in short, there could be fallout with regard to the Atlanta Hawks.

Shams Charania of The Athletic brings word of the four broad scenarios for the NBA to resume play, with only one of the options — a 30-team gathering that includes a 72-game regular season — presumably featuring the Hawks.

From there, however, Charania pours a bit of cold water on those hopeful to see Trae Young and company in action again this season, sharing that a 30-team return is now “unlikely.”

Obviously, this does not completely rule out the potential that all 30 teams could come together in Orlando, and Atlanta’s practice facility remains open for player use, albeit in a limited capacity. Still, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne expressed similar sentiment earlier this week, sharing that “teams have become increasingly skeptical of the league bringing back all 30 teams to complete the season.”

In fact, ESPN is now reporting that a vote could come as early as Thursday, with a 20- or 22-team format that would not include Atlanta.

In addition to the reported skepticism about the Hawks — with the team landing firmly in the league’s bottom tier in terms of the current 2019-20 standings — returning to action, Charania does bring a bit of more tangible news in that NBA commissioner Adam Silver is targeting July 31 as the date of resumption.

With or without the Hawks, there will be plenty of attention paid to the bubble/campus scenarios in Orlando but, for those invested primarily in the ramifications on Atlanta, the latest reporting isn’t overly encouraging of competitive basketball before December.

Stay tuned.