Some major changes could be coming to the NBA in the near future, as the league is currently engaged in serious discussions with the NBPA and its broadcast partners regarding major adjustments to the league's calendar, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN.
The changes being discussed by the league include the following:
- A reseeding of the four conference finalists based on regular season record, which would potentially put the best two teams against each other in the Finals, regardless of conference.
- A shortening of the regular season from 82 games to a minimum of 78 games.
- An in-season tournament with 30-team participation that begins with a divisional group stage of scheduled regular-season games. In this tournament, six divisional winners -- based on home and away records in the group stage -- and teams with the next two best records would advance to a single-elimination knockout round, per ESPN. Those teams could each potentially compete in the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. This tournament could potentially take place post-Thanksgiving and proposals exist that would compensate players and coaches for advancing in, and winning the tournament. One proposal that has been discussed is giving the winning team of the tournament an extra draft pick for the following year, as reported by the New York Times' Marc Stein. The idea behind it is to hopefully motivate teams to make the tournament competitive by adding potentially a first-round draft pick on top of bonuses for players and coaches.
- A postseason play-in which would consist of two four-team tournaments featuring the seventh, eighth, ninth, and 10th seeds in each conference. In this situation, the seventh seed in each conference would host the eighth seed, with the winner of that single game earning the seventh spot. The ninth seed would host the 10th seed, with the winner of that game facing the loser of the 7-versus-8 match-up for the final playoff spot.
As he often is, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is the driving force behind these potential changes, and conversations between Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts have been ongoing. The NBA cannot implement any of these proposed changes without an agreement with the NBPA.
Silver's goal is progressing the conversation enough in order to bring about a vote at the April meeting of the league's Board of Governors. If ultimately ratified, these changes to the league's schedule could begin as soon as the 2021-22 season.
These are enormous changes that the league is thinking about that would drastically alter the NBA as we know it. And while there is still a ways to go before any of the proposals are actually agreed upon and implemented, the fact that they're being seriously discussed shows that the NBA isn't completely content with its calendar as currently constructed.