The NBA’s Board of Governors is expected to approve commissioner Adam Silver’s recommendation on a format to restart the season in Florida in a vote next Thursday, ESPN reported Friday night.
According to the report, “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.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported earlier Friday that Silver informed the Board that a target date for the resumption of play is July 31.
According to the ESPN 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 him 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 Friday is believed to be entirely out of the running – to bring all 30 teams back to play.
Portland’s Damien 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. Portland is currently in ninth place in the Western Conference, 3 1/2 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.
The NBA hiatus began on March 11, when Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.
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 post-season by conferences or if all playoff teams will be ranked from first to last based on overall record.