Coronavirus: NBA 'planning to restart season on July 31'

By Sports Desk May 29, 2020

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the league office has informed the board of governors it is planning to restart the 2019-20 season on July 31, according to The Athletic.  

The league revealed its plans during Friday's board of governors meeting, with four scenarios being discussed on how to complete a season suspended on March 11 by the coronavirus pandemic.

One possibility would have the NBA cancel the remainder of the regular season with the top 16 teams in the standings heading straight to the playoffs, while another would have all 30 teams reach 72 games before conducting a full postseason.

The NBA is also considering restarts with either 20 or 22 teams involved, with the final few playoff spots to be determined by either a play-in tournament or by group-stage play similar to the World Cup format. 

The majority of league general managers are in favour of having the season move directly into the playoffs, according to survey results ESPN claims to have seen. Sixteen of the 30 GMs polled preferred that option, with only one backing a regular season with all 30 teams before holding the playoffs. 

Sixteen GMs also supported keeping the traditional playoff format, with 14 championing an option to re-seed the 16 qualifiers regardless of conference.  

Should the NBA decide on some type of 'playoff-plus' model, a play-in tournament to determine the number seven and eight seeds in each conference was the most popular option, followed by a play-in for solely the final spot of both conferences.

Half of the GMs preferred 20 teams participating in any kind of expanded playoffs, with seven voting for 24 teams, five for 18 and three for 22.  

The survey also indicated a willingness for greater roster flexibility among teams once play resumes, whether by increasing numbers or providing more options to replace injured or sick players.  

GMs were also asked their preference for when the season should end, with 25 of the 30 responses favouring a completion on or before October 1. 

The NBA is expected to use the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando, Florida for all games as well as training camps once it determines how many teams will participate in the season's resumption. 

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