On Friday afternoon, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported the NBA was targeting July 31 as its return-to-play date amid the coronavirus pandemic, and also that it was unlikely all 30 teams would participate in the season's completion.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Ramona Shelburne and Zach Lowe updated the league's status later in the day.
Per ESPN, the NBA Board of Governors is set to approve a plan presented by NBA commissioner Adam Silver next Thursday to finish the campaign at Orlando's Walt Disney World Resort:
The NBA is planning a Thursday vote of the Board of Governors -- with an expectation that owners will approve Adam Silver’s recommendation on a format to re-start the season in Orlando, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 29, 2020
ESPN added between 20 and 22 teams are expected to receive invites to the temporary bubble site:
Owners are largely planning to pledge support for Silver's final recommedation on a plan, which teams expect to include invitations for 20-to-22 teams to resume the season, sources tell @ramonashelburne, @ZachLowe_NBA and me. https://t.co/8waxNm1Dpc— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 29, 2020
Charania reported proposals involving 20 to 22 clubs could include group stages, games to determine playoff seeding and a potential postseason play-in tournament similar to what the NHL has scheduled to crown a 2020 Stanley Cup champion:
Sources: The NBA discussed four competition scenarios for restart with Board of Governors today:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 29, 2020
- 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
It's not known which other clubs will receive invites other than the 16 teams holding postseason berths in the standings when the league suspended play on March 11 because of the virus outbreak.
The Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls possess the three best records among Eastern Conference sides outside of the playoff spots.
However, the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns all own higher win percentages than the Wizards.
With travel concerns eliminated due to teams convening at one location, the NBA theoretically could use overall win percentages rather than conference-standing positions to seed teams ahead of a postseason format.
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