The NBA is seriously reconsidering the idea of reseeding the final four playoff teams as part of its proposed schedule changes for the 2021/22 season and beyond, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The league hopes to implement multiple changes for ’21/22 and is expected to put forth a formal proposal for a vote at this April’s Board of Governors meetings.
Reseeding the four conference finalists (based on their regular season records) in the hopes that the NBA’s two best teams would have a chance to meet in the Finals had been among the proposed changes, along with an in-season tournament and a play-in tournament for the seventh and eighth seeds. However, the reseeding idea appears increasingly unlikely to be included for the final vote, per Wojnarowski.
As Woj explains, the NBA’s coastal teams have opposed the reseeding concept for the most part, with those franchises – and others – expressing concerns about increased travel as a result of pitting Eastern and Western teams against one another prior to the NBA Finals. Sources tell ESPN that the league’s research has shown the proposed change could lead to a travel increase of 60% and result in one out of every four series being played across three time zones.
Besides the travel concerns, many league executives would like to maintain the East/West structure in the Conference Finals, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Reseeding the conference finalists could also be counter-productive if the NBA’s top title contenders didn’t hold the best regular season records due to injuries, load management, or other factors.
While the NBA appears to be souring on the idea of reseeding its final four teams, there’s no indication that the league won’t still move forward with its proposals for an in-season tournament and postseason play-in tournament.