An outline of what the NBA and the NBPA have been discussing in relation to crowning a 2019-20 champion was released in a report by ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday.
The report was quite expansive and extremely detailed, but there were two main takeaways: Some players want family with them when play resumes, and a plan to return 20-24 teams with play-in possibilities is being considered. Below is a breakdown of what's being discussed.
Disney: A place for family
Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., has emerged as the leading site for an NBA return. The proposed plan is to construct a "bubble environment" for which teams are able to safely complete practices and games, all while coming in minimal contact with the outside world.
A number of players have expressed their desire to have family members accompany them in the bubble during this time, according to Shelburne and Wojnarowski's report, "especially those on contending teams who anticipate lengthy stays in the playoffs."
The NBA and NBPA are progressing on a plan that would allow a limited number of family members.
"Family members would be subjected to the same safety and coronavirus testing protocols as everyone else living in the NBA's biosphere," the report states.
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While the idea of bringing back all 30 NBA teams to resume the season is still on the table, it's unlikely the NBA decides lands on that decision. The league is mulling over a "playoffs plus" option that would include 20-24 teams, with more teams from the Western Conference than the Eastern Conference. This option automatically includes teams occupying the Nos. 1 through 8 seeds in their respective conferences, as could include play-in possibilities for fringe teams vying for the postseason like New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio and Sacramento.
This might be the most interesting segment of news, as it's been a mystery which teams would be included in a potential restart. The level of competition in the Western Conference compared to the Eastern Conference has the NBA/NBPA seriously considering bringing back more teams from one conference than the other. Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard recently spoke with Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes and expressed issues with some of the rumors surrounding the NBA's method of returning to play.
"If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm not going to be participating," Lillard said.
Lack of equity between conferences seems to be an issue though, as the Wizards are 5.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic, but weren't named in any play-in situations even though they occupy the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference.
- Regardless of travel restrictions administered in various countries, players overseas will be granted clearance to re-enter the United States.
- It is expected that teams would start to arrive in Orlando in mid-July, but those timetables are still being discussed.
- The league currently has no expectation that a decision on a finalized plan will come from commissioner Adam Silver's call Friday with the NBA's board of governors.
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