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BOG, NBPA approve NBA’s 22-team format for return to play

The NBA outlined a plan for a return to basketball with the Board of Governors and the next day the NBPA approved the plan as well.

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A detail shot of the basketball during the game between the Golden State Warriors and the Detroit Pistons at Chase Center on January 04, 2020 in San Francisco, California.  Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

UPDATE: June 5 — The NBPA approved the NBA’s 22-team format for the plan to return, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Friday evening. So now the players and the BOG approve of the plan, you can call it offish if you’d like.

The NBPA also outlined their plan for coronavirus testing throughout the process.

So the players need to be tested every night and Shams is also saying that the League is stressing to players that they must remain in Orlando in the bubble. They aren’t going to track players, that would be insanity. They do need the trust of the players to stay within the confines of the Disney World campus.

UPDATE: June 4 — The NBA proposed their plan for a 22-team format for a return to play and it was approved by the Board of Governors in a meeting on Thursday, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Here’s a quick outline of some key dates via Shams:

Here are more details on scheduling and how that would work out in Orlando, per Woj.

So a little over two weeks would take up the regular season before the playoffs start. This gives us a good sense of what the NBA DFS and betting landscapes will look like for the first time in forever. It could be stacked game-to-game rather than a few time slots for games to lock. With it more spread out, that’ll impact strategy once DFS comes back.

We also have some details on when the 2020-21 season would start up again and the turnaround would be rather quick.

So if the playoffs end some time in October, there would be a very small window after the season ends and after the draft to flip the calendar and hold free agency. It’s doable, but normally negotiations in free agency can drag out a bit. It will be interesting to see how they handle the upcoming offseason.

UPDATE: June 3 — We knew that the NBA was planning to propose a 22-team plan on Thursday during the Board of Governors meeting. The Athletic’s Shams Charania has some more details on how that would play out.

So the 22-team format would feature the 16 playoff teams and then six additional teams. There will be a play-in tournament for the 8th seed. Here’s how that would work, per Shams:

If the ninth seed is more than four games behind the eighth seed, the eighth seed earns the playoff spot; if the ninth seed is four or fewer games behind, then the eighth and ninth seed will enter a play-in tournament that is double-elimination for the eighth seed and single-elimination for ninth. ESPN first reported the league was working on 22-team models.

A little confusing, so figured we’d take it right from the source. So by looking at the standings, assuming its the six teams with the best remaining record, that would put the Trail Blazers, Kings, Pelicans, Spurs, Suns and Wizards into that six-team field. I imagine the play-in tournament could include a few playoff teams — mainly the 8-seeds — in order to make it fair for everyone involved. That could mean it’s an 8-team play-in tournament featuring those six teams, the Grizzlies and Magic.

It was previously reported that the League was looking at four scenarios for a return. The 16-team and 30-team formats were thrown out the window. Landing in the middle, the League was down to 20-team Olympic-group style tournament and the 22-team format we just went over. These two options make the most sense. It gives teams fighting for position a chance to compete in the playoffs and doesn’t drag out the season by bringing back teams to play meaningless games. So it looks like we’ll get the NBA back on July 31 with 22 teams headed to Orlando.

The NBA is looking to finalize a plan for a return to play with an announcement expected to come Thursday. The idea is that 22 teams will return and play out the rest of the season in Orlando. With the projected timeline for the return, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that the last date for the 2020 NBA Finals would be on October 12. That would be Game 7.

So we know the NBA is looking to bring back more teams than just the 16 in playoff positioning to make things fair. This is exactly what the NHL is doing, so it isn’t surprising that the NBA is following suit. It’s looking like six additional teams will get a shot to get into the playoffs. This could be split between the conferences or just the best six records remaining. The later option seems more balanced given the race in the Western Conference was much tighter than the East.