The NBA and National Basketball Players Association have issued a joint statement confirming that the postseason will resume on Saturday, August 29 and outlining the social justice and voting initiatives that have been agreed upon as part of the restart.
While the statement didn’t provide a full schedule for Saturday and beyond, the expectation is that the games initially scheduled for Wednesday (Magic/Bucks, Thunder/Rockets, and Trail Blazers/Lakers) will take place on Saturday, with Thursday’s contests (Jazz/Nuggets, Raptors/Celtics, and Clippers/Mavericks) rescheduled for Sunday.
As part of the agreement to resume the playoffs, the NBA and its players will immediately establish a “social justice coalition,” which will focus on issues such as “increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.” Players, coaches, and team owners will all be part of that coalition.
Additionally, in each city where the NBA team owns its arena, owners will work with local officials to convert those buildings into voting locations for the 2020 election. A number of clubs have started doing this already, with the Rockets and Jazz among the latest to confirm their plans.
The Heat pushed for this initiative, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press, who tweets that the club has been “trying for months” to get local officials to make AmericanAirlines Arena a voting center.
The NBA also plans to work with players and the league’s broadcast partners to create more advertisements that promote “greater civic engagement in national and local elections” and raise awareness about voter access — they’ll be aired during the remaining 2020 playoff games.
Following the players’ decision not to play Wednesday’s games as scheduled, they met multiple times on Wednesday and Thursday and ultimately decided they wanted to complete the season. They held a call with team owners on Thursday evening to discuss next steps and came away satisfied with how their concerns were addressed — presumably, the initiatives detailed above were all discussed during that call.