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Report: Trail Blazers Only Team to Vote Against NBA's 22-Team Tournament Restart

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 4, 2020

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) brings the ball up court in the first half during an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

The NBA Board of Governors approved a plan to restart the season with 22 teams in a 29-1 vote Thursday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The Portland Trail Blazers were reportedly the lone "no" vote, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Sources: Blazers are eager to resume season, but chose to vote “No” because franchise believed there were more competitive and innovative formats on table -- including those that addressed 2020 NBA Draft lottery odds based on regular-season game results in Orlando.

The Trail Blazers benefit from the new system, which allows teams on the periphery of the playoff standings to compete for a spot in the postseason.

Portland is tied for the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference, 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 spot. According to the format broken down by Charania, the team will have regular-season games to try to climb the standings, as well as a potential play-in game if it ends up as the No. 9 seed.

However, the team remains a long shot to make a deep run with just 75-1 odds to win the championship, per Caesars.

Other organizations had appeared dissatisfied with the format before Thursday's vote.

According to Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN, Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett argued on behalf of small-market organizations that all 30 teams should return. Atlanta Hawks owner Tony Ressler was also in favor of a full restart with every team.

The Thunder will be part of the playoffs as the current No. 5 seed in the Western Conference, but the Hawks were one of the eight teams left out.

"The game has been taken away from all of us at this point," Atlanta head coach Lloyd Pierce said on ESPN's The Jump.

Atlanta still saw enough to vote in favor of the proposal with just 22 teams competing in Orlando.

Per Wojnarowski and Lowe, the NBA is considering a regional fall league to help those who were excluded from the restart.

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