The NBA Board of Governors reportedly discussed four return-to-play scenarios during a conference call Friday amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic reported details:
Shams Charania @ShamsCharania
Sources: The NBA discussed four competition scenarios for restart with Board of Governors today: - 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
Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer broke down how the 22-team format would work:
Kevin O'Connor @KevinOConnorNBA
Sources: If the NBA resumes play with a 22-team regular season format, teams will likely play eight games each. Then, a play-in tournament would take place for the eighth seed in each conference. Plans aren’t finalized yet but as of now it appears conferences would stay in place.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver also informed owners the league is targeting July 31 as a possible date to resume play, per Charania. The 2019-20 season has been halted since March 11 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan was among those who spoke during the meeting, per Charania. He advocated for player safety and argued players shouldn't be brought back for "meaningless games," a sentiment shared by the league, making a full 30-team finish to the regular season unlikely.
A full timetable hasn't been released, but a July 31 resumption of the campaign would mean teams would need to start training camps in the near future. The late finish—the playoffs typically take around two months—could result in the start to the 2020-21 season also being delayed.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski previously reported next season may not begin until December, and even then fans may not be allowed in attendance.
"If you start in December, that doesn't mean the people are coming back in December, but maybe they're back by March," a Board of Governors member told Wojnarowski.
The remainder of the 2019-20 season is also likely to take place behind closed doors with most of the rumors in recent weeks pointing toward the Disney World complex in Orlando.