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NBA presents players with a plan for restartingSubmitted: 06/03/2020
ORLANDO - The NBA has told the National Basketball Players Association that it will present a 22-team plan for restarting the season to the league's board of governors on Thursday, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

The teams that will be going to the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex on the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida would play eight games to determine playoff seeding starting around July 31 before the postseason begins, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Wednesday because the league has not released its proposal publicly.

The plan, if approved, would have 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams going to Disney and the cutoff being that teams must be within six games of a playoff spot at this point. Playoffs would start in August, and the NBA Finals will likely stretch into October, the person said.


The Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics already have clinched playoff spots " and, if only eight games are left, that would mean the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets would theoretically have clinched spots as well.

The Dallas Mavericks would be virtually assured of clinching a West spot, holding a seven-game lead over eighth-place Memphis. So that would mean the Grizzlies, Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio and Phoenix all would be in the running for the No. 8 seed out West. In the East, Washington is six games behind No. 7 Brooklyn and 5-1/2 games behind No. 8 Orlando " so within range of triggering a play-in series.

For a play-in series to happen to determine the No. 8 seed on either playoff bracket, the ninth-place team would have to be within four games of eighth place. If a play-in series occurs, it would basically be a best-of-two " where the No. 9 seed would have to win two head-to-head matchups to take over the No. 8 spot.

There would also be some jostling for playoff positioning happening in the eight-game restart. In the East, Toronto and Boston are separated by three games for the No. 2 spot and Miami, Indiana and Philadelphia are separated by two games for the No. 4 spot. Out West, the Clippers, Denver, Utah, Oklahoma City and Houston are all within four games of one another in the race for the No. 2 seed on that bracket.

There are still some elements of the restart plan that could be changed, and other matters are still being negotiated " such as how much of a percentage of their salaries that players will lose because some regular season games will be canceled. If 15% of the regular season is not played, which would be the current estimate based on the proposal, players would have to give up roughly $610 million in salary for this season.

It's also unclear what will happen to the eight teams that would not be vying for a postseason berth under the proposed format " Charlotte, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Cleveland, Minnesota and Golden State. If the 2020-21 NBA season doesn't start until December at the earliest, which would seem to be a very real possibility, those teams could go about nine months without playing games and some have expressed concerns over what that will mean for player development.

The NBA suspended its season March 11, becoming the first of the U.S. major pro leagues to do so after it became known that Utah's All-Star center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The list of NBA players who were known to test positive eventually grew to 10 " not all were identified " and Commissioner Adam Silver said that the actual total was even higher.

The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is a 255-acre campus with multiple arenas that could host games simultaneously and has been home to, among other things, the Jr. NBA World Championship in recent years. ESPN is primarily owned by Disney, one of the NBA's broadcast partners.

Story By: Andrew Goldstein

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 LOCAL SPORTS

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SUGAR CAMP - Roughly 35 anglers took to the lakes near Pitlik's Sand Beach Resort, just as they've been doing since the early seventies.

In those fifty years, there haven't been many tournaments with fewer fish caught than this one, which local guides attribute to the colder weather.

Still, the classic was able to raise money for local lake conservation.

"We make a little money to go into our fund," said tournament director Scott Hermanson. "Hopefully we can build some more fish cribs, help the environment for the fish and keep the stocking going on."

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CRANDON -
"We could legally do it, but we couldn't feel like it was right to ethically do it," said track promoter Marty Fiolka.

Plans were in place to have the season-opening Brush Run races on time at Crandon International Speedway.

Those plans would not hold up.

"I think it's a fine line between wanting to move forward but protecting the public," Fiolka said. "It's a big change in business for all of us."

A COVID-19 outbreak at a Forest County nursing home forced the brush run to reschedule from mid-June to late September.

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CRANDON - The Crandon International Off-Road Raceway has postponed its annual brush run from June 19-21 to September 25-27.

The track released a statement on its Facebook page Thursday, which said in part: 

"In the end, it was not an easy decision for off-road racing's oldest and most renowned race tracks to make. Despite weeks of working with local and state officials on conducting June's 27th Forest County Potawatomi Brush Run weekend, track and Championship Off-Road (COR) series officials today announced the rescheduling of the traditional Midwest off-road season kick-off from June 19th - 21st to September 25th - 27th. 

The current pandemic has forced the postponement and cancellation of motorsports events around the world. While Wisconsin has lifted most of its state restrictions on reopening businesses of all types, a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in Forest County has raised concerns within the tight-knit community of Crandon." 

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GREEN BAY - Packers running back Aaron Jones says he wants to remain in Green Bay for his entire career and that he won't let speculation about his future distract him as he enters the final season of his contract. 

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 REGIONAL SPORTS

- Miami Heat All-Star Bam Adebayo says he isn't sure how the NBA will keep everyone healthy if the league resumes this pandemic-interrupted season.

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- College coaches in non-revenue sports are worried about the impact legislation allowing compensation for athletes could have on their programs.

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MINNEAPOLIS - The jersey-wearing camaraderie. The scent of sizzling sausages. The buzz before a big game.

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The NBA is targeting July 31 as a date to return to the court, per The Athletic's Shams Charania.

League commissioner Adam Silver proposed that date in a call with the NBA's Board of Governors.

The league also put forth four scenarios for resuming the season, with options ranging from starting the playoffs immediately with 16 teams to playing an abbreviated 30-team regular season, followed by the playoffs.

It is also possible that the league will conduct a play-in tournament in between the regular season and the playoffs.

Many team locales have allowed professional sports to resume practicing.


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