As the NBA is gearing up to restart the 2019-20 season, it continues to gather valuable input. The league sent a survey to all 30 general managers on Friday night, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, with questions regarding various return-to-competition formats for the league. Questions included if the league should hold a postseason play-in tournament, how many teams should be involved in the postseason and how many games should be played before postseason play.
While general managers will get an opportunity to express their personal opinions through the survey, the ultimate decision regarding resumption will be made by Adam Silver. The NBA commissioner held a conference call with GMs on Thursday to discuss details regarding COVID-19 testing for players, and logistics of a "bubble" location.
The following formats are currently under consideration, per Charania:
Advance directly to playoffs: (16 teams, four rounds, best-of-seven series) with postseason teams based on standings as of March 12
A "Playoffs Plus" option: Expanding the number of teams with the opportunity to play, either through holding a play-in tournament to determine the final seed(s) in playoffs, to be played by "bubble teams" or replacing the first round of the playoffs with a group stage.
If "Playoffs Plus" — how many teams should return to play: 18, 20, 22 or 24?
Resume regular season with all 30 teams: All teams plays same number of games.
Resume regular season with all 30 teams, plus play-in: All teams play same number of games, followed by play-in tournament for the final seed(s) and traditional playoffs.
"Playoffs Plus" play-in format options: Play-in tournament featuring bubble teams for 8th seed; play-in tournament for 7th and 8th seed; or group stage that replaces first round of playoffs and all participating in groups (each team plays two games against each group opponent and top two teams from each group advances to traditional second round).
Scrimmage games prior to any restart:
— 2, 3, 4, or 5
Total regular season games:
— 72 or 76
— Traditional (East/West) or reseed all teams
Latest possible date for finish:
— Labor Day, Sept. 15, Oct. 1, Oct. 15 or Nov. 1
More information regarding a potential return to action will become available in the coming days and weeks as the league, which has been indefinitely suspended since March 11 due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, tries to hammer down a feasible plan with enough time. The NBA's Board of Governors is set to hold a call on Friday, May 29, per Charania, at which point some major decisions could be made.
At this point, the season resuming seems like a real possibility. Many NBA teams have already re-opened practice facilities for individual workouts, and they are expecting guidelines from the league that will allow them to begin bringing players back to their home markets and expanding workouts by the beginning of June. A potential timeline of events would see full practices resuming in mid-June and the season itself resuming in mid-July and extending throughout the summer. Many of the logistical details are still being ironed out, but there certainly seems to be some genuine momentum building toward a return.