The NBA recently issued a survey to general managers to measure the league’s temperature on various formats to restart the season, as first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor has obtained the results of said survey. The findings are as follows:
Half of the league’s general managers voted to skip straight to a 16-team postseason (bye, Bulls)
“Just over half” of the league’s general managers voted to reseed a hypothetical 16-team postseason by record, independent of conference
“About 75 percent” of the league’s general managers voted for a play-in tournament that would pit fringe playoff teams against each other to decide the final seeds of a playoff (O’Connor reported the Lakers and Bucks to favor this format)
The remaining 25 percent of the league’s general managers voted for a playoff featuring World Cup-esque group stage first round
Of note: The Bulls currently own the 24th-best record (22-43) in the NBA. It's not specified how many teams each of the above models would involve, but if that answer ends up being less than 24 (and the remainder of the regular season ends up being skipped), the Bulls would not be going to Disney World.
What does this mean for the NBA’s larger decision on how to format a relaunch of its season? Evidently, not much. Early Thursday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Friday’s Board of Governors call will not include a vote on a plan to return to play. O’Connor echoed that sentiment in his reporting, including a quote from an unnamed GM that read: “Adam isn’t taking the results seriously… Every team is obviously gonna vote for what’s best for them.”
Instead, O’Connor posited that commissioner Adam Silver might be using this opportunity to gauge league-wide interest in various schedule innovations moving forward. This would fit Silver’s MO. Even before the coronavirus pandemic halted the sports world, the NBA had long pondered and pushed for the idea of an in-season tournament as a way to drum up interest. In a time of financial strife for the league, interest has never been more at a premium than it is now, or will be next season.
Still, Silver and company have more immediate fish to fry, in terms of hammering down a format for finishing the 2019-20 campaign. Potential formats, timelines and so on will reportedly be discussed Friday. As of this writing, 22 of 30 teams have opened their practice facilities for limited, voluntary, individual workouts (a trend the Bulls may follow suit in come Friday), but all of them are awaiting direction on what’s to come — the players reportedly as anxiously as anyone.
NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts tells @ramonashelburne: “It’s time. It’s been two-and-half months of ‘What if?’ My players need some level of certainty. I think everybody does.” https://t.co/V3EpwKcKki— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 26, 2020
For now, that’s all any of us can do.