All 22 teams are expected to play eight regular-season games.
The expectation is the 16 teams now in the playoff picture will be joined by 6 more in a July 31 return. all in a bubble-like atmosphere at the Walt Disney World resort in Florida.
The NBA was the first North American sports league to suspend its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic after one of its players tested positive for the new coronavirus in mid-March.
Of the 22 teams expected to be invited to Walt Disney World, 16 of those are playoff teams plus the six teams now within six games of the No. 8 seed.
What would the resumption of the 2019-20 National Basketball Association season mean for player salaries, free agency and future team-building plans? If the eighth and ninth teams were separated by more than four games, the eighth seed would advance to the playoffs.
The NBA's Board of Governors has a 12:30 p.m. ET call on Thursday with the intention of approving the league's plan for a 22-team return in Orlando, sources told ESPN on Wednesday. The ninth-place team would need to beat the eighth-place team twice to claim a spot in the playoffs, while the eighth-place team would only need to win once to secure its spot.
The 22-team format adds extra layers and complications to the NBA's return, and its expansion increases the health and safety risk to all participants.
The target return date for league action is July 31 with the latest possible contest, Game 7 of a four-round postseason, scheduled to take place no later than October 12.
Additional precautions will be put in place to protect personnel, The Athletic reports, these include having athletes shower back at their respective hotel rooms and inactive players viewing the games from in the stands.