Rumor: Jumping straight into playoffs the most likely scenario for NBA return
The NBA is still working through a plethora of methods and challenges to make the resumption of the 2019-20 season a possibility. Those with knowledge of the league’s plans believe the most likely scenario at this point would be to put a bow on the regular season and jump straight into the playoffs, considering the league would only have enough time and resources to bring in 16 teams to an isolated location, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.
The Golden State Warriors are the only team to be already eliminated from postseason contention. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks are following in those footsteps, as are fellow bottom-feeders like the Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons, among others.
If the league chooses to move on straight to the postseason, the league could truncate the playoff schedule with three-game series in the early rounds, or go as far as scheduling back-to-back games to conclude the playoffs in time. That alone is unprecedented, as there is usually at least a day’s rest before the next matchup in all postseason series.
“It’s the responsibility of the league to explore all of our options for a return to play this season,” NBA chief communications officer Mike Bass said in a statement to The Ringer when asked about Silver’s contingency plans.
Nothing has been set in stone yet, but the more days that pass, the more likely a playoffs-only scenario becomes, with a play-in tournament scenario being unlikely. The league will need to take into account the NBA Draft Lottery, the NBA Draft, the start of free agency, and the potential start of next season when deciding what route to take next.