The definition of normal remains subject to change during the coronavirus
pandemic.

With daily testing and hurdles in specific regions and cities to clear, the
NBA is marching forward with a plan to play the 2020 season using lessons
learned from the unique summer in Orlando.

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"We've got to be really careful," Silver said Wednesday in an NBA TV interview
prior to the 2020 NBA Draft from Bristol, Conn. "We learned a lot in Orlando.
There's no doubt we will learn a lot as we start playing."

The NBA conducted the annual draft after multiple date changes on Wednesday,
and NBA free agency begins Friday. The 2020 season, which ended barely five
weeks ago in the bubble environment, is starting over in many ways.

"It's unusual for (rookies). Most of them didn't have a complete (2020)
season, NCAA Tournament. They're finding their own new normal," Silver said of
the 2020 draft class. "This isn't unique to the NBA. It's what people are
dealing with every industry around the world. And it's what we're doing."

For Silver, hitting reset and maintaining as much flexibility to make changes
for health-related reasons was paramount in starting the 2020-21 season.
Players initially didn't want to start the new season in December, but agreed
to the pre-Christmas start date to help restore league earnings. Projections,
Silver said, indicated a potential loss of more than $1 billion had the NBA
waited until late January to begin the regular season.

"It was very important. We wanted to find a way to play, just like we found a
way to play last summer," Silver said. "The thought here was, sitting down
with the players and their union, nobody thought we were going to spend months
in a (bubble). ... Ultimately, we concluded that's the best we could do under
the circumstances.

"What we now know about this virus and the circumstances, there is a way to do
it safely."

The NBA introduced a split 72-game schedule with a play-in tournament to
determine the final two playoff spots in each conference.

"The idea to split the schedule in two was a result of the enormous
uncertainty we're all living in," Silver said.

--Field Level Media

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