We have a target date! For now…
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is targeting a July 31st return date after he met with the league office and the Board of Governor’s on Friday.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 29, 2020
At this time, it has not yet been determined if the league will scrap the rest of the regular season and jump straight into the playoffs. However, during the meeting, according to Charania, four different scenarios were pitched as possible implementations for a return:
- 16 teams: Directly to playoffs
- 20: Group/stage play
- 22: Games to determine seeding, play-in tournament for final seed(s)
- 30: 72-game regular season, with play-in tourney
The popular belief among the media (and even Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan) is that going directly to the playoffs is the safest and smartest route to take. In fact, a GM survey released earlier on Friday by ESPN showed that over half of them preferred to jump straight into the postseason. Any sort of World Cup-style tournament that included pool-play always felt like a longshot and having teams at the bottom of the standings return for a few meaningless games isn’t the safest option.
If the NBA does decide to forgo the remainder of the regular season and continue with the playoffs based on the standings from March 12, then 13 former Kentucky Wildcats will take the stage for a chance at the Larry O’Brien Trophy.