The ongoing saga of the return of live sports took a turn in the right direction as the NBA has officially begun planning a comeback with a target date of July 31st in Orlando, Florida.
It has been nearly 3 months since the NBA suspended its season due to the coronavirus pandemic. At this point, it’s not a question of the league coming back, its a question of what will the playoffs look like and how will the NBA handle the logistical issues of keeping everyone safe inside the Disney World bubble basketball city they are creating.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA Board of Governors will vote next Thursday and is expected to approve commissioner Adam Silver‘s recommended format to finish the campaign.
“Owners are largely planning to pledge support for Silver’s final recommendation on a plan, which teams expect to include invitations for 20-to-22 teams to resume the season,” Woj wrote.
The 22-team plan includes teams that are currently within six games of the final playoff spots. That means that New Orleans, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio and Washington would land in the playoffs.
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the four plans discussed on the Board of Governors call today was one in which teams that are within six games of a playoff spot would be invited to compete in regular-season games, then a play-in tourney for the final playoff spots, sources told ESPN.
“Why six games? Because historically teams haven’t been able to come back from more than five games with this amount of games remaining on the schedule.
“Regardless of how many teams are invited, one thing the players have continuously stressed is that they don’t want to go straight to the playoffs. They need time to shake the rust off both for competitive reasons and injury risk.”
It has been months since we’ve seen any real NBA basketball and regardless if its 20 or 22 teams in the playoffs, it’s clear that the outdated conference formate will most likely not be used.
It appears the dream of combining the eastern and western conferences into a single bracket format is going to finally happen which is something that should have been done before the first Tesla rolled off the production line.
The reality is I’m personally happy that the NBA is finally formatting its plan to return and I can’t wait to see NBA playoff basketball, even it is televised from a bubble in Disney World.
The real question is will the NBA be able to keep everyone safe inside the bubble? The logistical issues are complex and even a few positive coronavirus tests could ultimately derail the leagues’ ability to crown a champion. Still, you have to give it to Adam Silver and the NBA for trying to bring basketball back to the masses.