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Report: 22-team field to resume NBA season in Orlando...What it all means for the Magic

The Magic now must try to avoid an eighth seed play-in tournament

Utah Jazz v Orlando Magic Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images

It’s now all but official, NBA basketball is returning. And it’s coming to our backyard.

According to reports by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the NBA board of governors on Thursday will vote on and approve a 22-team format to resume the NBA season at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Woj reported that the season would resume on July 31, with eight regular season games being played to determine seeding before the playoffs.

All 16 teams currently in playoff positioning, along with any team within six games of the eighth seed, are expected to be invited to Disney. In the West, that means the Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs and Suns (more on the Zion conspiracies coming later today). In the East, with a direct impact on the Magic, that means the Wizards, who currently trail Orlando for the eighth spot by 5.5 games.

If the Wizards manage to pull within four games of the Magic (or Nets, who currently have a half-game lead over Orlando for the seventh seed), the two would play a double-elimination play-in tournament to determine the eighth seed.

The Magic, of course, can still move up to the seventh seed if they are able to make up a half-game on the Brooklyn Nets over the season’s final eight games. Doing so would not only help Orlando avoid a potential play-in tournament, but also avoid playing a 53-12 Milwaukee Bucks team in the first round of the playoffs.

The Magic were playing some of their best basketball of the season when the league paused on March 11, unleashing a league-leading supercharged offense over the final stretch. Their season-long struggles against winning teams, however, is a concern heading into the final eight games that will be played almost entirely against winning teams.

For the Magic, it will be a short drive to the NBA’s new bubble. Once there, of course, they’ll presumably remain on the premise until the team is eliminated, meaning they’ll be staying at hotels just miles away from their homes.

Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports and CelticsBlog - the originator of the NBA-at-Disney plan who we recently had a Q&A with to discuss the idea - reported that Disney’s Coronado Springs Report is the leading candidate to host the NBA.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that players will be allowed to golf and eat an outdoor restaurants in Disney.

There remain plenty of details to work out, primarily surrounding safety protocols. But if the reports hold true, we are less than two months away from NBA basketball.

Much more on this story to come.