2020 NBA Playoffs: Tentative Start Dates for Play-In, Finals, More Reported

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 28: A general view of Spalding basketballs used prior to the game between the Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks at Capital One Arena on December 28, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Will Newton/Getty Images

The NBA reportedly has tentative start dates in mind for each round of the playoffs as it moves closer toward its 22-team restart of the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Florida. 

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the league's players union held a conference call Monday and revealed the play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed in each conference will be on Aug. 16 and 17, if necessary.

From there, the first round of the playoffs reportedly will start on Aug. 18, the second round would start on Sept. 1, the conference finals on Sept. 15 and the NBA Finals would begin on Sept. 30. The final day of the NBA Finals, if it went a full seven games, would be Oct. 12.

The 2019-20 season has been suspended since March 11 amid the COVID-19 pandemic but is scheduled to restart on July 31 with the top eight teams in the Eastern and Western Conference standings, as well as the remaining six teams that were within six games of a playoff spot.

Each team will play eight regular-season games to determine final playoff seeding, although there will be a play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed if the No. 9 seed is within four games of that spot. 

The No. 8 seed would have to win just one of a possible two games in such a play-in format to clinch a playoff berth.

After that, the playoffs will proceed as normal with best-of-seven series until a champion is crowned, although there will not be spectators in attendance and the typical home-court advantage fans are accustomed to seeing in the postseason.

The Washington Wizards were the only team in the Eastern Conference outside of the playoff picture that was within six games, although they are 5.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic.

In the Western Conference, the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns are within six games of the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies with Portland, New Orleans and Sacramento the closest at 3.5 games back.