NBA Targeting July 31 For Return To Play

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the league office informed the Board of Governors on today’s conference call that July 31 is the tentative target date for a return to play, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

That target date doesn’t tell us exactly when the NBA would want its season to end, since we don’t know how many games will be played once the season resumes. However, a typical postseason requires about two months from start to finish, so it appears as if the league is comfortably playing through August and September.

According to Charania (via Twitter), the NBA discussed four potential return scenarios on today’s call with team owners. Those scenarios were as follows:

  1. Bringing back 16 teams and advancing directly to the postseason.
  2. Bringing back 20 teams and using a play-in pool that would involve a group stage.
    • Note: The Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, and Spurs would likely be involved in this scenario in addition to the playoff teams.
  3. Bringing back 22 teams and playing regular season games to determine seeding. A play-in tournament would then be used to determine the final playoff teams.
    • Note: The Suns and Wizards would be added to this scenario, as ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne tweets.
  4. Bringing back 30 teams, completing a 72-game regular season, then conducting a play-in tournament for the final playoff teams.

Within each of those scenarios, the NBA could tweak the details and go in a few different directions. For instance, even something a solution as simple as advancing to the postseason with the current top-eight seeds in each conference could involve reseeding those teams from one through 16, regardless of conference.

It seems like a safe bet, however, that the format the league eventually lands on won’t stray too far from one of those four options. Marc Berman of The New York Post tweets that returning with 24 teams is believed to still be on the table as well, so that may be a variation of the third option listed above.

According to Charania (via Twitter), that fourth and final option – with all 30 teams returning to play – looks like the least likely outcome. Charania reports that Hornets owner Michael Jordan advocated on today’s call for player safety and not asking players to return for meaningless games — that viewpoint has been voiced by at least one superstar player as well. So unless all 30 teams get a chance to make the playoffs, which seems like a long shot, the NBA is unlikely to bring them all back.

The NBA and NBPA are expected to further deliberate in the coming days, with Silver potentially bringing a proposal back to the Board of Governors for a vote next week.

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10 thoughts on “NBA Targeting July 31 For Return To Play

  1. Sillivan

    The key is to reduce the virus risk
    I vote 3

    Rockets and 76ers need to beat 2 playoffs teams to advance to 2nd rounds

    Bucks and Lakers need to beat one team to advance bc there is no home court advantage

  2. Skip, Tampa

    Option #1 is only one with any real merit. Even then it’s a 1st of November start to next season.
    Silver has turned into a true blue P.T. Barnum.
    Let’s see 1st the start was the 15th of June. Then the 15th of July. Followed by the 22nd and now the 31st.
    Still the player whine about more regular games and more safety. While every day people return to work now.
    Personally think the season should be cancelled and start fresh next year.
    If everyone can’t figure it out by training camp in September, then it’s a problem to dive deeper into.
    Right now it’s just primping and pennies.

  3. miamiheat319

    Jesus f christ just go straight into the playoffs it’s not that complicated

    • x%sure

      Why?– people will watch regardless. They could start with teams practicing and get ratings.
      But why wait until August!

  4. Sillivan

    Without travel
    Regular season 8 days
    Playoffs 48 days

    Conference finals 7 games series
    NBA finals 7 games series

  5. Meadowlark

    It’s a hard time for sports leagues, and a tough decision for all involved. The NBA has been discussing a later start to the season and a slightly curtailed number of games. This is a good opportunity to make that fly.

  6. They’re rudderless. Silver either can’t lead, or the owners won’t let him. Stern would have just made an arbitrary (albeit $$ friendly) decision on when to start, it wouldn’t have been negotiable and – after saying their piece -everyone would have nodded in agreement.

    • x%sure

      Yes Resumption could have happened a month or more ago. There will never be a consensus. Liability in society is a tough case all over given the medical uncertainties… “pandemic panconfusion”. So just go. Let individuals drop out, and potential liability is just about gone (says me the non-lawyer!)

      • Legal liability shouldn’t be a concern without fans, and fans will likely only be allowed if the league can get valid waivers in place. I think it’s perception that concerns them. But acting with that as the top concern almost always ends in a bad result – and look.

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