CLEVELAND — On Thursday, the NBA approved plans to resume its 2019-20 season in Orlando next month with 22 teams playing eight regular-season games each, followed by the playoffs.
In a statement attributed to general manager Koby Altman and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, the Cleveland Cavaliers expressed the disappointment that they won't be one of the 22 teams participating in the format.
The statement reads:
“While we are disappointed that the announced return to play proposal excludes the Cleveland Cavaliers, we understand all of the unprecedented factors that contributed to this outcome and we accept the hard decisions Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA’s Board of Governors had to make. We also respect the exhaustive and life-altering measures that were considered as a result of COVID-19, but as a team, we greatly desired to be a part of the season’s resumption.
"We were hopeful to be granted the opportunity to continue the 2019-20 season and join our counterparts in Orlando to further the development of our young team in meaningful basketball games, and also feed off the positive momentum we had built prior to the league shutdown on March 11. Collectively, our players want to compete at the highest level and we will unquestionably use this as added motivation as we continue working towards a sustainable culture of winning.
"Although the time away from our incredible fanbase in Cleveland and across Northeast Ohio is unfortunate, we look forward to finding ways to continue utilizing our platform and available resources to reach out in our community to help affect change and take sustainable action in the fight against racial injustice. We are looking forward to returning to the court for the 2020-21 NBA season.”
Additionally, the Cavs released the following organizational statement:
“While we are disappointed that the season has come to an end and would have preferred to continue playing, we respect the extreme complexities involved and understand the league’s recommendation and decision. We remain proud of the way our players, coaches and entire organization has faced this incredibly challenging time. So much of what we’ve learned about our team and ourselves as an organization during this journey, though, has nothing to do with basketball and everything to do with love, character, community and our culture. All of which are things we will continue to amplify.
"We’re also very grateful for the continued passionate support from our partners, our Wine & Gold United members and from all Cavaliers fans. Those bonds and relationships have grown even stronger through all of this. Full focus on our future starts right now and we are in a great position to improve on the momentum that was developing when we were last on the court.
"In a huge understatement, we all miss this greatly and will prepare with great anticipation for the start of next season. What a thrilling, even historic, moment and celebration that will be!”
At 19-46, Cleveland finishes the 2019-20 NBA season with the worst record in the Eastern Conference and second-worst record in the league. As a result, the Cavs will be one of three teams to have a 14 percent of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft -- the best odds available under the league's current lottery format.