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2019–20 NBA season
National Basketball Association logo
League Flag of the United States NBA
Duration Regular Season
October 22, 2019 – March 11,
2020
(Season suspended due to COVID-19 pandemic)
July 30, 2020 – August 14, 2020
(completion of regular season with "seeding" games)
August 15–16, 2020
(Play-in tournaments)
Playoffs
August 17, 2020 – September 30, 2020
Finals
September 30, 2020 – October 11, 2020
No. of games 63–67 games played before season suspension
71–75 total for 22 teams after suspension
No. of teams 30
Draft
No. 1 pick: Flag of the United States Zion Williamson
Draft team: New Orleans Pelicans
Regular season
Top seed Eastern Conference:
Milwaukee Bucks (56–17)
Western Conference:
Los Angeles Lakers (52–19)
Season awards
MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)
COTY Nick Nurse (TOR)
ROTY Ja Morant (MEM)
Playoffs
Eastern Conference Championship
Champions Miami Heat
Series MIA: 4 - BOS: 2
Opponent Boston Celtics
Western Conference Champion
Champions Los Angeles Lakers
Series LAL: 4 - DEN: 1
Opponent Denver Nuggets
Finals
Champion Los Angeles Lakers
Series LAL: 4 - MIA: 2
Opponent Miami Heat
Awards
Finals MVP LeBron James (LAL)
NBA seasons
<- 2018–19 NBA season
2020-21 NBA season ->

The 2019–20 NBA season was the 74th season of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

The regular season began on October 22, 2019 and was originally supposed to end on April 15, 2020. However, the season was suspended on March 11, 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 NBA All-Star Game was played on February 16, 2020, at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, and was won by Team LeBron 157–155. The playoffs were scheduled to begin on April 18, 2020, and end with the NBA Finals in June 2020. At the time of the suspension, teams had played between 63 and 67 games.

On June 4, 2020, the NBA Board of Governors approved a plan to restart the season on July 30, 2020, and the National Basketball Players Association approved this plan the next day. Under the plan, 22 teams played eight additional regular-season games to determine playoff seeding, and 16 teams entered a conventional post-season tournament. All gameplay took place in the NBA Bubble, the isolation zone specifically created for NBA operations.

On August 26, 2020, the season was suspended for a second time due to a wildcat strike during the playoffs.

The finals ended on October 11, 2020, 355 days after the October 22, 2019 regular-season opening day, and 377 days after the first pre-season games on September 30, 2019. This was the longest season in NBA history.

Transactions

Retirement

  • In September 2018, Dwyane Wade announced his intentions to retire from the NBA at the end of the 2018–19 season. Wade played his 16 seasons with the Miami HeatChicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers franchises, winning three championships with the Heat in 2006, 2012 and 2013. Wade is believed by many as the greatest Miami Heat player of all time.
  • On March 1, 2019, Channing Frye announced his retirement from the NBA. Frye played 13 seasons in the NBA, winning one championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.
  • On April 9, 2019, Dirk Nowitzki announced his retirement from the NBA. Nowitzki played all his 21 seasons with the Dallas Mavericks franchise, winning one championship and Finals MVP with the Mavericks in 2011, and also led them to a Finals appearance in 2006.
  • On June 10, 2019, Tony Parker announced his retirement from the NBA. He played 18 seasons in the NBA and was a four-time NBA champion with the San Antonio Spurs.
  • On June 28, 2019, Darren Collison announced his retirement from the NBA. He played for 5 franchises during his 10 year NBA career.
  • On August 29, 2019, Zaza Pachulia announced his retirement from the NBA. He played for six franchises during his 16 year career. He won two championships with the Golden State Warriors.
  • On September 13, 2019, Shaun Livingston announced his retirement from the NBA. He played for ten franchises during his 15 year NBA career. He won three championships with the Golden State Warriors.
  • On October 17, 2019, Luol Deng signed a ceremonial one-day contract with the Chicago Bulls and officially retired as a Bull after playing 15 seasons. He was a 2x All-Star with the Bulls.
  • On November 4, 2019, José Calderón announced his retirement from the NBA. He played for seven franchises during his 14-year NBA career.
  • On December 28, 2019, Zach Randolph announced his retirement from the NBA, Randolph played for five franchises during his 17-year NBA career. He was a 2x All-Star with the Memphis Grizzlies.
  • On February 16, 2020, Marcin Gortat announced his retirement after playing 12 seasons in NBA. He last played with the Los Angeles Clippers until February 7, 2019.
  • On April 14, 2020, Trevor Booker announced his retirement from the NBA. He played for five franchises during his eight-year NBA career.
  • On June 25, 2020, Vince Carter announced his retirement from the NBA. Carter played for eight franchises during a record 22-year career in the NBA; he's the only player to play in four different decades and was the last active player to have been drafted and played in the 1990s.

Free agency

Free agency negotiations began on June 30, 2019 at 6 p.m. ET, unlike July 1st from previous seasons.

Players officially signed after the July moratorium on July 6 at 12 p.m. ET.

Preseason

The preseason will began September 30, 2019 and ended on October 18, 2019.

International games

The Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings played two preseason games at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Indoor Stadium in Mumbai, India on October 4 and 5, 2019.

The Toronto Raptors and the Houston Rockets played two preseason games at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama City, Japan on October 8 and 10, 2019.

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets played two preseason games in China, in Shanghai on October 10 and in Shenzhen on October 12.

The Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks played one preseason game in Canada, at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on October 17.

Regular season

The entire schedule was released on August 12, 2019. The regular season began on October 22, 2019, and was suspended on March 11, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reformatted regular season, with 8 more games scheduled for 22 qualified teams going to the NBA Bubble in Orlando, was released on June 26. The regular season resumed play within the bubble on July 30.

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div GP
y – Toronto Raptors 53 19 .736 0.0 26–10 27–9 9–5 72
x – Boston Celtics 48 24 .667 5.0 26–10 22–14 9–6 72
x – Philadelphia 76ers 43 30 .589 10.5 31–4 12–26 11–5 73
x – Brooklyn Nets 35 37 .486 18.0 20–16 15–21 6–10 72
o – New York Knicks 21 45 .318 26.0 11–22 10–23 2–11 66
Central Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div GP
z – Milwaukee Bucks 56 17 .767 0.0 30–5 26–12 13–1 73
x – Indiana Pacers 45 28 .616 11.0 25–11 20–17 8–7 73
o – Chicago Bulls 22 43 .338 31.0 14–20 8–23 7–9 65
o – Detroit Pistons 20 46 .303 33.5 11–22 9–24 5–10 66
o – Cleveland Cavaliers 19 46 .292 34.0 11–25 8–21 4–10 65
Southeast Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div GP
y – Miami Heat 44 29 .603 0.0 29–7 15–22 10–4 73
x – Orlando Magic 33 40 .462 11.0 16–15 14–20 9–5 73
o – Washington Wizards 25 47 .347 18.5 16–20 9–27 5–9 72
o – Charlotte Hornets 23 42 .354 18.0 10–21 13–21 2–7 65
o – Atlanta Hawks 20 47 .299 22.0 14–20 6–27 6–7 67

Western Conference

Northwest Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div GP
y – Denver Nuggets 46 27 .630 0.0 26–11 20–16 12–2 73
x – Oklahoma City Thunder 44 28 .611 1.5 23–14 21–14 8–5 72
x – Utah Jazz 44 28 .611 1.5 23–14 21–16 5–7 72
x – Portland Trail Blazers 35 39 .473 11.5 21–15 14–24 5–8 74
o – Minnesota Timberwolves 19 45 .297 23.5 8–24 11–21 2–10 64
Pacific Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div GP
c – Los Angeles Lakers 52 19 .732 0.0 25–10 27–9 10–3 71
x – Los Angeles Clippers 49 23 .681 3.5 27–9 22–14 8–6 72
o – Phoenix Suns 34 39 .466 19.0 17–22 17–17 6–9 73
o – Sacramento Kings 31 41 .431 21.5 16–19 15–22 8–5 72
o – Golden State Warriors 15 50 .231 35.0 8–26 7–24 2–11 65
Southwest Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div GP
y – Houston Rockets 44 28 .611 0.0 24–12 20–16 8–5 72
x – Dallas Mavericks 43 32 .573 2.5 20–18 23–14 10–4 75
o – Memphis Grizzlies 34 39 .466 10.5 20–17 14–22 4–9 73
o – San Antonio Spurs 32 39 .451 11.5 19–15 13–24 7–6 71
o – New Orleans Pelicans 30 42 .417 14.0 15–21 15–21 4–9 72

By conference

Eastern Conference
# Team W L PCT GB GP
1 z – Milwaukee Bucks * 56 17 .767 0.0 73
2 y – Toronto Raptors * 53 19 .736 2.5 72
3 x – Boston Celtics 48 24 .667 7.5 72
4 x – Indiana Pacers 45 28 .616 11.0 73
5 y – Miami Heat * 44 29 .603 12.0 73
6 x – Philadelphia 76ers 43 30 .589 13.0 73
7 x – Brooklyn Nets 35 37 .486 20.5 72
8 x – Orlando Magic 33 40 .452 23.0 73
9 o – Washington Wizards 25 47 .347 30.5 72
10 o – Charlotte Hornets 23 42 .354 30.0 65
11 o – Chicago Bulls 22 43 .338 31.0 65
12 o – New York Knicks 21 45 .318 32.5 66
13 o – Detroit Pistons 20 46 .303 33.5 66
14 o – Atlanta Hawks 20 47 .299 34.0 67
15 o – Cleveland Cavaliers 19 46 .292 34.0 65
Western Conference
# Team W L PCT GB GP
1 c – Los Angeles Lakers * 52 19 .732 0.0 71
2 x – Los Angeles Clippers 49 23 .681 3.5 72
3 y – Denver Nuggets * 46 27 .630 7.0 73
4 y – Houston Rockets * 44 28 .611 8.5 72
5 x – Oklahoma City Thunder 44 28 .611 8.5 72
6 x – Utah Jazz 44 28 .611 8.5 72
7 x – Dallas Mavericks 43 32 .573 11.0 75
8 x – Portland Trail Blazers 35 39 .473 18.5 74
9 o – Memphis Grizzlies 34 39 .466 19.0 73
10 o – Phoenix Suns 34 39 .466 19.0 73
11 o – San Antonio Spurs 32 39 .451 20.0 71
12 o – Sacramento Kings 31 41 .431 21.5 72
13 o – New Orleans Pelicans 30 42 .417 22.5 72
14 o – Minnesota Timberwolves 19 45 .297 30.5 64
15 o – Golden State Warriors 15 50 .231 35.0 65

Notes

  • z – Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs/clinched best record
  • c – Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs/clinched conference
  • y – Clinched division title
  • x – Clinched playoff spot
  • * – Division winner

International games

On March 28, 2019, the NBA announced that the Charlotte Hornets and the Milwaukee Bucks will play at AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France on January 24, 2020.

On June 7, 2019, the NBA announced that the Dallas MavericksDetroit PistonsPhoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs would play at Mexico City Arena in Mexico City, marking the first time that four NBA teams will play in Mexico City in one regular season. The Mavericks and Pistons played on December 12, 2019, and the Spurs and Suns played on December 14, 2019.

Arenas

Media

This will be the fourth year of the current nine-year contracts with ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBA TV.

Under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox, the Fox Sports Regional Networks were required to be sold off to third parties by June 18, 2019. Fox also invoked a clause to give Yankee Global Enterprises the rights to buy their stake back in the YES Network, which airs the local broadcasts to the NBA's Brooklyn Nets. Including YES, the Fox Sports Regional Networks hold the local TV rights to a combined total of 44 NHL, NBA, and MLB teams. On March 8, YES was sold to a consortium including Yankee Global Enterprises, Amazon, and Sinclair Broadcast Group for $3.5 billion. Then on May 3, Sinclair and Entertainment Studios agreed to purchase the rest of the Fox Sports Regional Networks.

Notable occurrences

  • On October 24, 2019, Vince Carter of the Atlanta Hawks became the first player in NBA history to play 22 seasons. Carter officially checked in the game at 6:52 in the first quarter against the Detroit Pistons.
  • On November 3, 2019, Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks became the youngest player to record consecutive 25-point triple doubles.
  • On November 19, 2019, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers became the first player in NBA history to record a triple double against all 30 NBA teams.
  • On November 27, 2019, LeBron James became the 4th player in NBA history to reach 33,000 career points.
  • On December 8, 2019, Luka Dončić surpassed the record for the most consecutive games with at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists since the ABA-NBA merger in 1976. Michael Jordan previously held the record, recording 18 consecutive games with at least 20-5-5 between March 13, 1989 and April 4, 1989.
  • On December 10, 2019, Vince Carter became the fifth player in NBA history to play at least 1,500 games.
  • On December 28, 2019, Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans, in addition to Justin Holiday and Aaron Holiday of the Indiana Pacers, became the first three brothers to play in the same NBA game.
  • On December 29, 2019, LeBron James became the first player in NBA history to record at least 30,000 points, 9,000 rebounds and 9,000 assists.
  • On January 1, 2020, NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern passed away at the age of 77, due to a brain hemorrhage sustained a few weeks prior.
  • On January 4, 2020, Vince Carter became the only player in NBA history to have played in four different calendar decades.
  • On January 13, 2020, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder became the youngest player in NBA history to record a 20-rebound triple-double at 21 years and 185 days old.
  • On January 20, 2020, Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets became the second player to record a triple-double against all 30 NBA teams.
  • On January 22, 2020, Vince Carter moved past Alex English for 19th on the NBA all-time scoring list.
  • On January 22, 2020, Zion Williamson made his professional debut, in a 121–117 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. He played 18 minutes and finished with 22 points and 7 rebounds, scoring 17 consecutive points in 3:08 minutes during the fourth quarter.
  • On January 25, 2020, LeBron James moved past Kobe Bryant for 3rd on the NBA all-time scoring list.
  • On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. During games, players paid tribute by dribbling through the 24-second shot clock violation and the 8-second backcourt violation, referencing the two numbers Bryant wore during his career.
  • On January 27, 2020 the NBA announced that they would postpone the January 28 game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center out of respect to Bryant.
  • On January 31, 2020, Vince Carter moved up to 3rd place in the NBA all-time games played list with 1,523 passing Dirk Nowitzki in the process.
  • On February 23, 2020, the Milwaukee Bucks clinched the earliest playoff berth with their 137–134 win over the Washington Wizards.
  • On March 11, 2020, the league suspended the season indefinitely after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • On June 25, 2020, Vince Carter officially announced his retirement after 22 seasons and four separate decades in the NBA. He is the only player to accomplish both these feats.
  • On July 30, 2020, the regular season resumed in the NBA bubble. Due to some teams not playing these games, along with teams having an uneven amount of games played at the shutdown, this will be the first season since the 2012–13 NBA season that some teams play more regular season games than others.
  • On August 8, 2020, Luka Dončić recorded his 17th triple double of the season, clinching his spot as the youngest player to ever lead the NBA in triple doubles in a season.
  • On August 13, 2020, the San Antonio Spurs were eliminated from playoff contention for the first time since the 1996–97 season, ending a record-tying 22-year streak.
  • On August 23, 2020, Luka Dončić's performance in game 4 of the Dallas Mavericks playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers, including 43 points, 17 rebounds, 13 assists, and a game-winning buzzer beater, broke a number of records. He became the youngest player to hit a game-winning buzzer beater in the playoffs, one of only three players to make 40+ points, 15+ rebounds, and 10+ assists in a playoff game, one of only five players to make 40+ points including a buzzer beater in a playoff game, among others.
  • On August 23, 2020, Donovan Mitchell scored 51 points and Jamal Murray scored 50 points in a playoff game between the Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets, the first time in NBA history that two players scored 50 points in a playoff game.
  • On August 26, 2020, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to sit out game 5 of their playoff series against the Orlando Magic to protest the Shooting of Jacob Blake a few days earlier. Similar decisions by the Oklahoma City ThunderHouston RocketsPortland Trail Blazers, and Los Angeles Lakers came shortly after.
  • On September 15, 2020, the Denver Nuggets defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference semifinals after initially trailing in the series 3–1. This marked the first time that a team overcame consecutive 3–1 series deficits in a single playoff run, as the Nuggets had previously overcome a 3–1 series deficit to win their first round series against the Utah Jazz.
  • On October 11, 2020, Talen Horton-Tucker is ranked the second youngest NBA player to win a NBA Championship after the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

Suspension of season

On March 11, 2020, the game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder was abruptly postponed shortly before tipoff after it was discovered that a few players, including Rudy Gobert, had tested positive for COVID-19. That same evening, the game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings was also postponed last minute once it was discovered that a referee for the game, Courtney Kirkland, had worked a Utah Jazz game only two days prior. Kirkland would later test negative for COVID-19. The NBA then suspended the remainder of the 2019–20 season "until further notice" following the completion of games already underway.

On March 14, Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood became the third NBA player to test positive for the virus, and the first outside of the Jazz.

On March 17, four Brooklyn Nets players, including superstar Kevin Durant, tested positive for the virus.

On March 19, two players for the Los Angeles Lakers, as well as Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics, tested positive for the coronavirus.

As of March 30, all players have recovered and were cleared by local health officials.

On May 23, it was announced that the NBA were in negotiations with The Walt Disney Company about the possibility to finish the season at Walt Disney World's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando.

On May 29, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the league office informed Board of Governors that July 31 is the target date for a season return. 

On June 4, 2020, the NBA Board of Governors approved a plan to restart the season on July 31, 2020 in Orlando. Under this plan, 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams, all clubs within six games of a playoff spot, will play eight regular-season "seeding" games. A possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed in each conference would then be held if the ninth seed finishes the regular season within four games of the eighth seed. This proposal was then approved by members of the National Basketball Players Association on June 5.

Medical protocol for season restart

On June 16, 2020, the NBA released a medical protocol to be used during the season restart in the NBA Bubble at Walt Disney World to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches, officials, and staff. This includes regular testing for COVID-19 prior to and throughout the season restart, wearing a face covering or mask, and social distancing to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 from occurring. Players and coaches who are deemed "high-risk individuals" by their team, or players who have already suffered season-ending injuries prior to season suspension, will not be permitted to play and will also not lose any salary. Any player who is medically cleared may also decline to participate but they will lose their corresponding paychecks.

Phase 1 of the plan ran from June 16 to 22, consisted of players traveling back to the home cities of their respective teams. In Phase 2 from June 23 to June 30, COVID-19 tests began being administered to players every other day. In Phase 3 from July 1 to July 11, mandatory individual workouts were conducted at team facilities, but group workouts were prohibited.

Phase 4 is from July 7 to July 21, consisting of the teams traveling to Disney World and conducting practices. Any player who tested positive in the previous phases may not travel until he is medically cleared to do so. Once teams arrive in Orlando, players and staff will be isolated in their rooms, required to pass two Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests 24 hours apart before being let out of this quarantine. They will still be regularly tested for COVID-19 afterwards. A player who tests positive will be isolated and re-tested in case of a false positive; if COVID-19 is definitely confirmed, he will be quarantined for at least 14 days to recover.

Players and staff will not be permitted into another's room, nor will they be able to socialize with players on other teams staying at a different hotel building. They will have access to food and recreational activities within their hotel's bubble, but they will have to wear masks indoors except when eating. Anybody who leaves the bubble without prior approval will have to be quarantined for at least 10 days.

During Phase 5 from July 22 to 29, teams will play three scrimmages against the other teams staying at the same hotel. During Phase 6, when the regular season seeding games and playoffs are under way and teams begin to be eliminated from contention, players and staff on those clubs must pass one final COVID-19 test before they can leave Disney World.

The NBA also set up an anonymous hotline for players to report protocol violations while in the bubble.

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