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NBA reportedly targeting July 31 as a return date

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We now know when we might see the Lakers and the rest of the NBA take the court again.

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LA Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

After several months of shutdown, for the first time the light at the end of the basketball tunnel might be in sight. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, we might get to see the Lakers — and the rest of the NBA — resume play again on July 31, 2020.

This is the first time anyone has reported on an exact date the season might return.

We also now, thanks to Charania, have some more information on when the NBA will likely be looking to wrap up by, as well as what type of playoff situation the various executives around the league prefer:

Which one of those formats would be best for the Lakers is a matter of debate, but the bottom line is that it likely doesn’t matter a ton. The unthinkable could always come to pass if the Lakers are left rusty from the long layoff and get eliminated earlier than expected in the postseason, but this is a team with the best record in the Western Conference who had already clinched a playoff spot when the season got suspended. They’re really good, and will in all likelihood be able to handle any playoff format or opponent thrown at them, at least early on.

Whether the Lakers can win a title or not under these circumstances remains uncertain. It is probably going to be harder than they thought, in the middle of a season that had already been plenty difficult. And that’s before a pandemic sent everyone into isolation for months and forced the remainder of the campaign to be played out in a bubble.

But if there is one thing this Lakers team has demonstrated it has in spades over the course of this year, it’s resiliency. They’ll need it when the NBA comes back, and for the first time since it shut down, we know when that might be.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.