Steven Adams. Photo credit: Reuters

Basketball: NBA sets July 31 as target return date for season

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has informed the league's Board of Governors that he hopes to restart the season on July 31, the Athletic reported on Saturday (NZ time).

The NBA was the first North American sports league to suspend its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic after one of its players tested positive for the new coronavirus in mid-March.

When asked by Reuters to comment on the Athletic report, an NBA spokesman said the league had "nothing to confirm at this point."

The Athletic said the NBA discussed four competition scenarios, ranging from all 30 teams completing a reduced 72-game regular season to having the top 16 teams go directly to the playoffs.

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It is unclear where the games would be played or whether spectators would be allowed to attend.

Last week the NBA said it was in talks with The Walt Disney Company about restarting its suspended season at Disney World in Florida in late July.

The potential plan would see the league hold games at a single site, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, a sprawling athletic complex inside the Orlando resort that has three arenas, hotels and would allow the league to limit outside exposure.