Nothing definitive on the format in which the NBA will resume its season came out of a highly-anticipated Board of Governors call Friday.
But a target date for the return of the season did emerge from commissioner Adam Silver and the league office: July 31, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
Early Friday, Charania added to a burgeoning wave of reporting on the results of a survey distributed to general managers to gauge executive’s opinions on resumption options. Of particular note is that “most GMs” want the season resolved by Oct. 1, with many working under the assumption the 2020-21 season will start on Christmas Day.
Additional results from NBA's GM survey, per sources:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 29, 2020
- Most GMs want season to end no later than Oct. 1
- GMs want larger roster/more flexibility to manage their roster
- 53 percent voted to maintain traditional playoff seeding; 47 percent for reseeding https://t.co/sVwYF0ZYPT
If that July 31 target date to return to play comes to fruition, that would give the NBA about two months to finish out the 2019-20 campaign and crown a champion under whichever format it chooses. Without a clear idea of how the various playoff formats on the table would break out schedule-wise, it remains tricky to project how long each option could take. Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps recently reported that a traditional four-round playoff would take a maximum of 55 days.
The league, though, is exploring plenty of non-traditional avenues to finish its season, assuage league-wide financial concerns and drive fan interest. The NBA and Board of Governors discussed four models for a return to play on Friday’s call, according to Charania.
Sources: The NBA discussed four competition scenarios for restart with Board of Governors today:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 29, 2020
- 16 teams: Directly to playoffs
- 20: Group/stage play
- 22: Games to determine seeding, play-in tournament for final seed(s)
- 30: 72-game regular season, with play-in tourney
The only one of those formats which would involve the Bulls is the fourth option, a 30-team, 72-game regular season completion and play-in tournament. But Charania reported in a later tweet that a return of all 30 teams is “unlikely” due to health and safety concerns.
Hornets owner Michael Jordan advocated on the call for player safety, and not simply having players return for meaningless games, sources said. Given the NBA is prioritizing health and safety first and foremost, 30 team return is unlikely. https://t.co/03pAvpDPi7— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 29, 2020
Here’s the part where I write we’ll have to wait and see what happens next. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported in the wake of the call that a plan could fully materialize in the next week.
The NBA suspended its season on March 11 after Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.