The NBA has apparently agreed to how the rest of the 2019-20 season is going to play out and set July 31 as the date when we will see a return to action.  The league’s board of governors got together today to discuss the various options that were available, ultimately whittling down the list to four possible scenarios.

The talk continued previous conversations held when the board met last month and, while all four options apparently have their advantages, only one would make the final cut.  It now seems that the NBA is ready to call the regular season done and move straight into the playoffs.

NBA To Return To The Court On July 31

Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, has decided that pro basketball can resume as of July 31.  When that date arrives, the league would launch directly into the playoffs, with 20-22 teams descending upon Disney World in Orlando to battle it out for the championship.  While Silver’s plan is expected to be approved, the board of directors will ultimately make the determination.  The governors are expected to get together next Thursday and vote on whether or not they accept the proposal.

To try to figure out where the teams stood on how they wanted the season to continue, the general managers of all 30 teams were asked to weigh in on the four different plans that were the most likely candidates for approval.  Of these, 16 indicated that they wanted the league to organize the playoffs as normal, with just 16 teams and eight seemed to favor the idea of having the regular season pick back up with all teams, followed by a play-in tournament.

The plan that would see the league go directly to the playoffs with either a World Cup-style competition or a play-in tournament received five votes, and only one GM thought it would be a good today to resume the regular season, let it finish as if nothing had happened and then go to the playoffs.

The GMs were also asked to indicate their preference on how a potential expanded playoff scenario would play out.  The options were for 20 teams to participate, which received 15 votes, 24 teams (seven votes), 18 teams (five votes) or 22 teams (three votes).  The number of teams to be seen in the modified playoff that will most likely take place in Orlando will be one of the issues determined in next week’s board of governors meeting.

What About Next Year?

At this point, restarting NBA action on July 31 is almost a definite, regardless of how the playoffs are organized.  However, this is definitely going to effect next season.  Typically, based on the normal seven-game series format, the playoffs take around two months, which would put the NBA Finals concluding at the end of September or possibly the beginning of October.

The regular season usually starts around the same time, so the 2020-21 season would need to be pushed back.  Without making changes to that season, the entire schedule from here to eternity would need to be permanently altered.

Instead, what would most likely happen is that next season would begin in December, but with a reduced number of games.  Players have to be given a certain amount of time off between seasons in order to rest up and heal, and rushing them back onto the courts would only be a recipe for definite injury.  That’s not something the players, coaches or owners are willing to risk.

In fact, the GMs made things pretty clear about how they felt about the end of the season.  When asked to choose between September 7, September 15, October 1, October 15 and November 1 to close out this upside-down season, none of the options received overwhelming support.  October 1 was the leading choice, but with only nine votes.  After that, September 7 received three, September 15 received seven, October 15 received five and November 1 received six.

But, another modified season also leads to additional questions – what happens to salaries and bonuses, what happens to NBA standings, where will the NBA Draft fall in the entire debacle.  There are more questions than answers at this point, and everyone can only wait to see what comes out of the upcoming meeting, as well as a meeting between the NBA and the NBA Players Association.