NBA commissioner Adam Silver has informed the Board of Governors the league is looking at a July 31 restart date, according to reports.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Friday that Silver informed the Board of the target date for the resumption of play.
On Friday night, ESPN reported the NBA’s Board of Governors is expected to approve Silver’s recommendation on a format to restart the season in Florida in a vote next Thursday.
The commissioner, who has been closely working with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), has not revealed when or how a formal decision will ultimately be made.
The report said “numerous members” of the Board of Governors have said that from a group of return-to-play plans, support is growing for one that would see 22 teams play at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.
On a call among the Board of Governors on Friday, “an overwhelming majority” of owners indicated they would approve a plan, ESPN reported. In order to proceed, any plan would need a three-fourths margin to be approved.
According to the report, among the likely specific of Silver’s proposed plan are:
- There would be regular-season and play-in games to determine playoff spots in the Eastern and Western Conference.
- Teams that were in a playoff position or within six games of the No 8 seed when play suspended March 11 would participate.
“We are lining up behind [Silver] on this,” an owner told ESPN. “The posturing will end. Nothing is going to be perfect for everyone.”ESPN reported that only one of the four plans discussed on Friday is believed to be entirely out of the running – to bring all 30 teams back to play.
Portland’s Damian Lillard said earlier this week he would not play if the NBA had teams play only a handful of games and the Trail Blazers’ had no shot at making the playoffs. They are currently in ninth place in the Western Conference, three-and-a-half games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff slot.
Under the reported plan, the Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards would be the teams currently outside the playoffs who would compete in Orlando.
There is also a plan for 20 teams to take part, according to ESPN, which added that discussions have focused on a series of regular-season games and a play-in tournament to set the final playoff field.
A typical timeline of the NBA season would involve the conference finals before the NBA Finals, which began May 30 last season. However, it is uncertain if the league will still break down the postseason by conferences or if all playoff teams will be ranked from first to last based on overall record.
Jared Dudley of the Los Angeles Lakers wrote on Twitter that Silver has said the season could go into early October before finishing, and added that a later start to next season gives “more time to (potentially) have some sort of fans” back in the stands.
Details of what the league’s coronavirus testing plan would be are also somewhat unclear, though it’s almost certain that any program would involve all players and staff being checked very regularly and possibly even daily once the season resumes.
Another very big issue is money.The NBA has the right, per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, to exercise a clause and recoup roughly 1.08 per cent of each player’s salary for every regular-season game that is cancelled for unforeseen circumstances such as a pandemic.
The NBPA has not responded to requests for comment on how the financial implications of lost games would affect players.
But if some teams are not brought back when the season resumes and more regular-season games are played, then it would seem possible for some players could lose a much larger percentage of their salary than others would.