Report: Big changes proposed to NBA schedule starting next season

Patrick Dunne
NBC Sports Boston

The NBA's 75th anniversary season in 2020-21 could see some significant changes to the league's regular and postseason schedules.

The NBA and its players' association and broadcast partners are "in serious discussions" to bring major changes to the league calendar beginning next season that include shortening the season to 78 games, adding play-in games in each conference, re-seeding its final four teams in place of traditional conference finals and playing a 30-team in-season tournament, according to an ESPN report.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe reported that the NBA hopes to bring the changes to a vote before its board of governors in April.

A quick breakdown of the proposals:

The eighth and final team in the playoffs in each conference would be determined by a four-team tournament where No. 7 seed plays No. 8 and No. 9 would play No. 10. The winners of those games would then meet to determine who gets the final playoff spot. 

Rather than the top two teams in the East and West play in a conference final, the league would re-seed its final four teams based on record. For example, under that format, last spring's Golden State Warriors-Toronto Raptors NBA Finals series would've been one semifinal and the Houston Rockets would've played the Milwaukee Bucks in the other, with the winners meeting in the Finals.

Similar to European soccer, all NBA teams would take a break from their normal regular-season schedules a post-Thanksgiving tournament that would consist of regularly scheduled division games culminating in an eight-team knockout round (six division winners and two wild cards). The ESPN report says the proposal includes added financial incentives for players and coaches in the in-season tournament.

The additional games from an in-season tournament and potential play-in games would lead to the regular season being shortened to 78 games. 

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Report: Big changes proposed to NBA schedule starting next season originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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