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NBA Continues To Mull Possible Playoff Scenarios

As industries across North America and around the world continue to be hit hard by the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic, NBA executives are still hanging onto hope that the 2020 postseason can be salvaged, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post.

“They’re very determined to have a champion,” one source told The Post.

League executives are hoping it will be possible to play five-to-seven regular season games followed by a 16-team playoff, according to Berman, who suggests those games would all happen in a single city and would be played behind closed doors. The NBA only wants to consider a single-elimination postseason as a last resort, but reducing each round to a best-of-three series is a possibility. One league official tells Berman that “nothing is off the table.”

Previous reports have suggested that the NBA would like to have each team play at least 70 regular season games, since there’s language in regional TV deals calling for a minimum of 70 local games. However, that has become less of a priority as of late, according to Berman, who adds that that idea of completing the full regular season is essentially a non-starter at this point.

A best-case scenario might see the NBA resume its 2019/20 season in late June or early July, with the intent of pushing the start of the ’20/21 campaign back to December, says Berman.

As for where the season might be completed if it resumes, one report last week said the league was eyeing Las Vegas as a candidate, since the city has multiple venues and has a preexisting relationship with the NBA as a result of Summer League. Berman confirms that Vegas is a possibility, but suggests the NBA has also had “internal talks” about locales such as Orlando, Atlantic City, Hawaii, and Louisville.

NBA Considering Possibility Of Expansion?

As the NBA and NBPA work toward finalizing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the league is also reportedly considering the possibility of expansion, according to Kevin Nesgoda of SonicsRising.com. While no NBA teams are expected to relocate anytime soon, the league apparently hasn’t ruled out the possibility of moving into a new (or old) market via expansion.

According to Nesgoda, he asked dozens of media and league sources whether NBA expansion is on the table, and the overwhelming majority suggested the possibility is being discussed. Nothing is certain at this point, but Nesgoda hears that Seattle remains on the league’s radar. Nesgoda identifies Louisville, Pittsburgh, Omaha, Las Vegas, Vancouver, and Mexico City as other cities that could attempt to vie for a franchise if given the opportunity.

The possibility of expansion is an interesting one for the NBA, particularly if there’s a city with an NBA-ready arena prepared to make a play for a team. Unlike Major League Baseball, where teams play nearly every day, the NBA could conceivably function with an odd number of teams, so adding a single franchise would be realistic. That scenario would dilute the league-wide talent pool slightly, but not significantly enough to have a real impact on the quality of play.

As Nesgoda cautions, there are still plenty of roadblocks between NBA expansion becoming a reality in Seattle or another city, even if the league were to open up bidding. A potential ownership group would require the land, the funding, and the approval for an NBA arena in order to be taken seriously as a potential location for a franchise. Still, it’s something worth keeping an eye on as the league and the players’ union negotiate a new CBA deal.