We have the place: ESPN's World Wide of Sports in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
We have the targeted date: July 31.
Now, discussions have begun as to what the league will look like once play resumes.
NBC Sports' Kurt Helin broke down the four options the NBA is considering:
- 16 teams: Directly to playoffs
- 20 teams: Group/stage play
- 22 teams: Games to determine seeding, play-in tournament for final seed(s)
- 30 teams: 72-game regular season, with play-in tourney
It sounds like the NBA is leaning towards the 22-team format. The idea is the 22 teams - all teams within six games off the last playoff spot in each conference would play eight regular season games, then the standings at the end of those games would set up the play-in tournament for the eighth seed. After that, the playoffs would start.
EAST: Washington Wizards
WEST: Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, and Phoenix Suns
But what about the other eight teams?
The 2020-2021 NBA season is projected to start around December 2020, which means those eight remaining teams who will not be playing in Orlando, Florida, won't play any league games from March 2020-December 2020, nearly nine months of no game action.
Reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe, small market teams are urging the NBA to include entire league once play resumes. Near the end of the NBA's board of governors call on Friday, Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett delivered an impassioned soliloquy on why the league and owners needed to consider the competitive and financial plights of smaller-market teams that could be left out of the season's summer resumption in Orlando, Florida.
"The message was something bigger, reminding people that some teams can't just reopen the doors in nine or 10 months and so easily sell tickets or a sponsorship without having played basketball for that long," one high-level Eastern Conference official on the call told ESPN.
This brings up a couple good points. One, it may cause strain financially on the smaller market teams having no basketball for nine months in terms of ticket sales and sponsorships. Another point is developing younger players. Perhaps offering an offseason camp to those teams who don't play this Summer in Florida will be in discussion.
Be sure to check out the full Talkin' Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon, and Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri.
Certain NBA playoff scenarios could have big implications for small markets originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest