NBA looking at four playoff formats to restart season in July: report

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We don’t know who will be playing yet, but the NBA is targeting a return-to-play date of July 31, according to a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The plan is to centralize all games at Walt Disney World in Orlando, played without fans in the stands. There are 12 basketball courts located at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, two of which are broadcast-ready. Players and staff would stay in a metaphorical bubble at one of the many hotels located on the Disney World property.

When the NBA suspended its season on March 11 following the positive test case of Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert, teams had played between 63 and 67 of 82 scheduled regular season games. Going to the trouble of returning to play for teams that are already well out of playoff contention seems unlikely, which is why most observers expect some kind of alternative arrangement to be made.

According to Charania, the Board of Governors are considering four options for restarting the season, ranging from an immediate start to a traditional 16-team playoff to various other options that would involve 20 to 30 teams.

While all seven teams outside of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference are well back of the Orlando Magic for the final playoff spot (the Washington Wizards are the closest at 5.5 games back), there’s a much closer race in the West.

The Memphis Grizzlies currently hold the eighth seed in the Western Conference, with the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, and Sacramento Kings all just 3.5 games back, while the San Antonio Spurs are just four games back. For those teams, the NBA is considering a play-in format to decide the final 16 playoff teams.

The Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) currently own the league’s best record, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers (49-14), Toronto Raptors (46-18), and Los Angeles Clippers (44-20).

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NBA.com

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NBA.com