On Thursday, the NBA held a call with its 30 teams’ heads of basketball operations – general managers and those with similar titles – to discuss a potential return to play, as well as the results of the survey the league sent those GMs earlier this month.
According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, half of the league’s GMs voted to proceed directly to the playoffs without playing any more regular season games. And just over half of the league’s GMs were in favor or reseeding playoff teams one through 16, regardless of conference. Meanwhile, support for a play-in pool similar to the World Cup’s group stage was lukewarm — approximately 75% of GMs voted for a play-in tournament, with just 25% or so supporting the play-in pool concept.
As O’Connor notes, the call was about gathering information rather than committing to a specific plan. The NBA still has a Board of Governors call scheduled to happen today, and even then, talks are expected to continue through the weekend without a formal vote on a return to play quite yet, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms (via Twitter).
As for which plans received more support in the GM survey, the NBA is aware that the results, in many cases, reflect a team’s particular interests — for instance, the Lakers and Bucks supported a play-in tournament over a play-in pool, since the latter would result in a more challenging path to the second round.
“Adam isn’t taking the results seriously,” one team executive told O’Connor earlier in the week. “Every team is obviously gonna vote for what’s best for them.”
Here’s more from O’Connor:
- General managers “unanimously” favor the idea of expanding rosters for the postseason, sources tell The Ringer.
- According to O’Connor, the NBA’s preference is for no group workouts to take place until teams arrive in Orlando, since the league will be in a better position to implement its own safety measures and COVID-19 testing procedures there. However, teams are pushing back against that idea, arguing that their players need more of a ramp-up period, and multiple executives expect the NBA to relent, O’Connor writes.
- Teams on Thursday’s call had questions about how the draft lottery would work in the event of a play-in tournament or other tweaks to the usual playoff format. There are no clear answers yet on that issue, per The Ringer.
- According to O’Connor, every source he has spoken to this week believes that the NBA would prefer to have at least some of its teams stay home. The league is prioritizing health and safety – ie. minimizing the amount of people in its “bubble” – over fulfilling certain regional television contracts.