NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will have a call with the NBA's Board of Governors on Thursday to discuss a plan for resuming the season.
But ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski seems to already know what will happen on that call. On Wednesday morning, Woj broke the news that 22 teams will engage in eight regular-season contests in Orlando for playoff seeding purposes.
In the early days of the season's suspension, it often seemed unlikely that we'd have a satisfying conclusion to a season that was already 60-plus games deep. News in recent weeks began to flip into more optimistic tones as more testing became available for the coronavirus and many potential plans were considered.
The NBA has now zeroed in a one-site plan that will bring 22 of the league's 30 teams to Orlando. The eight-game regular season is slated to begin July 31.
Per Wojnarowski, the six teams joining the 16 already in playoff position are: New Orleans, Portland, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, and Washington. If, after the conclusion of the eight-game regular season, the ninth seed is within 4.0 games of the eighth seed, a play-in tournament would be triggered.
The exact structure of that tournament is unclear, though Wojnarowski notes that it would entail a double-elimination format for the eight seed and single-elimination for the ninth seed.
One concern regarding a one-site playoffs is that it eliminates home-court advantage, and ESPN's Dave McMenamin reported Wednesday morning that teams are hoping for "long shot alternatives" to give higher seeds some semblance of an advantage. However, those proposals are considered unlikely to pass given that it would require a two-thirds board of governors vote, in addition to an agreement from the players' union.
The reported scenarios offered are:
- The higher-seeded team being awarded the first possession of the second, third and fourth quarters, following the traditional jump ball to begin the game.
- The higher-seeded team being allowed to designate one player to be able to be whistled for seven fouls instead of six before fouling out.
- The higher-seeded team receiving an extra coach's challenge.
- The higher-seeded teams being able to transport their actual hardwood home court from their arenas to Orlando to try to preserve the feel of their home playing experience.
- An off-court feature in which playoff teams, in order of seeding 1-16, receive first choice on picking which hotel they will stay at in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Disney World Resort. ESPN is owned by the Walt Disney Co.
On the 2020 NBA Draft front, Marc Spears of ESPN reported Wednesday that the teams with the three worst records – Golden State, Cleveland, and Minnesota – will have equal odds to garner the No. 1 overall pick.