NBA return format: How league, playoffs will work after virus restart

NBA return format: How league, playoffs will work after virus restart

The NBA is back.

On Thursday, the league's Board of Governors agreed to a return-to-play plan in which teams will stay in a bubble environment in Orlando, Fla. The league has been suspended since March 11 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

So, the NBA is back but what does that look like?

Here's a simple breakdown.

The NBA will return July 31 with a 22-team league. There will be no fans at the games and guests reportedly won't be allowed until the playoffs. The 16 teams who currently are in the playoffs along with the Kings, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards and Phoenix Suns will make the journey to Florida. The season is over for the other eight teams, including the Warriors.

Once the season restarts, there will be eight "seeding games" to determine the playoff picture. The schedule is set to be released Tuesday. Teams will play the remaining teams on their schedule who also are in Orlando. There is no word yet on how this will impact the draft lottery.

After those eight "seeding games," there is the possibility for a play-in tournament for the No. 8 seed. If the No. 9 seed is within four games of the eight seed, the two will play for the right to be in the playoffs. It will be single elimination for the No. 9 seed and double elimination for the No. 8 seed. There is no word yet on what will happen if multiple Western Conference teams are tied for the No. 9 seed.

As of right now, the Wizards will enter the restart five-and-a-half games back of the No. 8 seed Orlando Magic. In the Western Conference, the Kings, Blazers and Pelicans all are three-and-a-half back of the Memphis Grizzlies, while the Spurs are four back and the Suns are six off the pace.

[RELATED: Report: Warriors' season over as NBA approves restart plan]

The NBA then will hold its playoffs as normal, with four best-of-seven rounds.

The possibility of warm-up games still is being finalized.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Six under-radar free agents Warriors could pursue signing in offseason

Six under-radar free agents Warriors could pursue signing in offseason

The Warriors need to shore up their depth at key positions if they intend to make a run at the NBA title next season.

If Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are healthy next season, the front office will have to mix and match with what they already have filling out the roster, bringing in new additions with limited money to spend.The Warriors will only have the taxpayer mid-level exception and minimum contracts at their disposal to hand out to unrestricted free agents.

We already examined the guards, wings and big men who clearly could interest the Warriors. But what about the free agents who might not immediately catch your eye?

With limited salary-cap room at their disposal, perhaps those are the exact type of players the Warriors should pursue.


NBA rumors: Warriors wouldn't have let Steph Curry play in Orlando

NBA rumors: Warriors wouldn't have let Steph Curry play in Orlando

The NBA reportedly is considering creating a second "bubble" in Chicago for the eight teams that were not included in the Orlando bubble as part of the league's expanded playoff format. Warriors general manager Bob Myers said Thursday that Golden State potentially would participate, despite coach Steve Kerr previously insisting that the Dubs would not be interested in such a setup.

It remains to be seen if the second bubble actually will take place, but even if it does, it sure seems like you won't be seeing Steph Curry play in it. ESPN's Jackie MacMullan reported he wouldn't have played in Orlando had the Warriors qualified, and it begs the question as to why Chicago would be any different.

"I was told unequivocally by people at Golden State," MacMullan said Thursday on the "Hoop Collective" podcast, "if Golden State came back (to play in Orlando) they weren't gonna let Steph Curry step foot on the floor."

"The reason they were worried about Steph Curry," MacMullan added, "was because they didn't feel that he had played enough to come back."

So, there you have it. The Warriors arguably would have very little to gain from participating in the Chicago bubble, and given that there is no championship at stake -- like there is in Orlando -- Golden State doesn't have much motivation to send its star veteran players, especially those that are returning from injury.

Curry played in precisely one of the Warriors' final 61 games before the season was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic after returning from a broken wrist. And if he isn't going to play, you can bet Klay Thompson -- who would be returning from a torn ACL -- won't either.

[RELATED: Stephen A believes Warriors will return to title contention]

Draymond Green previously said that he would have played in Orlando, but if the Splash Brothers are out, why would Golden State risk the health of the other remaining piece of its championship core?

The Warriors need to find a way to stay in basketball shape and continue developing chemistry over what is going to be an extremely long layoff before the start of next season. But if Curry, Thompson and Green aren't involved, then that kind of ruins the whole point.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]