Calling all League Pass users! Calling all League Pass users! The preseason for the NBA’s restart tips off tomorrow!
Starting on Wednesday at 3 p.m. EST, the NBA will begin its adventure of trying to safely navigate through a pandemic via a bubble concept down at Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort. The season doesn’t officially restart until July 30, but there are a total of 33 “exhibition” games that the 22 teams will run through before each playing eight regular-season games apiece. All 33 exhibition games will be televised on some combination of NBA League Pass and NBA TV.
If you’re someone who didn’t have League Pass before the 2019-20 season was suspended back on March 11, do not fret! According to TV Answer Man, the NBA is offering a package costing $28.99 that will allow users to watch games that are not on national TV. While the League Pass package doesn’t include games that will be televised on stations such as TNT, ESPN, ABC, or NBA TV, it will include most of the exhibition games (others will be on NBA TV) and all eight games left on each team’s regular-season schedule. There will also be a commercial-free package worth $39.99.
Normal blackout rules for out-of-market contests will still apply, so for you Kentucky-based NBA fans, you probably won’t be able to watch Memphis Grizzlies or Indiana Pacers games once the season does restart.
All 22 of the teams reconvening for the restart are slated to play in three exhibition games each, however, the first of the three will have a slight tweak to the rules; 10-minute quarters instead of 12-minutes. According to the Associated Press, the NBA is doing this because they are “not wanting to overly tax players after they went more than four months without games, and because some teams do not have their full rosters at Walt Disney World yet because of coronavirus and other issues.”
The second and third exhibition games will go back to the standard 12-minute quarters.
Here is a day-by-day breakdown of the games that also includes which former Kentucky players will be participating. In total, 15 former ‘Cats will have the opportunity to take the floor. Depending on how quickly Rajon Rondo’s thumb heals (he’s expected to be out 6-8 weeks), that number could jump up to 16 by the time this event is all said and done. Exhibition games will run through July 28 followed by a one-day break that will separate everybody from the official restart on July 30.
Wednesday, July 22 (all times Eastern)
(NBA TV) 3:00 p.m.: Magic vs. Clippers (Patterson)
3:30 p.m.: Wizards vs. Nuggets (Murray)
(NBA TV) 7:00 p.m.: Pelicans vs. Nets
7:30 p.m.: Kings (Fox) vs. Heat (Adebayo, Herro)
Thursday, July 23
3:00 p.m.: Spurs (Johnson) vs. Bucks (Bledsoe)
(NBA TV) 3:30 p.m.: Blazers (Gabriel) vs. Pacers
(NBA TV) 7:00 p.m.: Mavs (Kidd-Gilchrist) vs. Lakers (Davis, Rondo-out)
7:30 p.m.: Suns (Booker) vs. Jazz
Friday, July 24
3:30 p.m.: Grizzlies vs. Sixers
(NBA TV) 5:00 p.m.: Thunder (Diallo, Gilgeous-Alexander, Noel) vs. Celtics (Kanter)
(NBA TV) 7:30 p.m.: Rockets vs. Raptors
Saturday, July 25
(NBA TV) 12:00 p.m.: Lakers (Davis, Rondo-out) vs. Magic
12:30 p.m.: Bucks (Bledsoe) vs. Kings (Fox)
(NBA TV) 4:00 p.m.: Heat (Adebayo, Herro) vs. Jazz
4:30 p.m.: Nets vs. Spurs (Johnson)
8:00 p.m.: Clippers (Patterson) vs. Wizards
8:30 p.m.: Nuggets (Murray) vs. Pelicans
Sunday, July 26
(NBA TV) 12:00 p.m.: Sixers vs. Thunder (Diallo, Gilgeous-Alexander, Noel)
1:30 p.m.: Suns (Booker) vs. Celtics (Kanter)
(NBA TV) 4:00 p.m.: Pacers vs. Mavs (Kidd-Gilchrist)
(NBA TV) 6:00 p.m.: Blazers (Gabriel) vs. Raptors
(NBA TV) 8:00 p.m.: Rockets vs. Grizzlies
Monday, July 27
(NBA TV) 3:00 p.m.: Wizards vs. Lakers (Davis, Rondo-out)
4:00 p.m.: Kings (Fox) vs. Clippers (Patterson)
(NBA TV) 5:30 p.m.: Jazz vs. Nets
7:00 p.m.: Magic vs. Nuggets (Murray)
8:00 p.m.: Pelicans vs. Bucks (Bledsoe)
Tuesday, July 28
(NBA TV) 2:00 p.m.: Grizzlies vs. Heat (Adebayo, Herro)
3:00 p.m.: Raptors vs. Suns (Booker)
(NBA TV) 4:00 p.m.: Spurs (Johnson) vs. Pacers
6:00 p.m.: Thunder (Diallo, Gilgeous-Alexander, Noel) vs. Blazers (Gabriel)
8:00 p.m.: Celtics (Kanter) vs. Rockets
8:30 p.m.: Mavs (Kidd-Gilchrist) vs. Sixers
Among the former Kentucky players who are members of one of the 22 teams that qualified for the restart, four of them have already been ruled out for various reasons: John Wall (WAS); rehabbing, Willie Cauley-Stein (DAL); birth of daughter, Darius Miller (NOP); rehabbing, and Trey Lyles (SAS); appendectomy.
On Monday, the NBA received the most encouraging news since taking on this elaborate plan: out of 346 players tested for the coronavirus, NONE came back positive. With just one more day until basketball within the bubble kicks off, that’s the best news the league could have hoped for. Now let’s just hope it continues.
*Side note: The daily BBNBA posts will return, but not until the day after the first set of regular-season games (July 31). I’ll be watching as much of the exhibitions as possible, so still expect to see some preseason content over the next week-plus.*