The National Basketball Association just got one step closer to returning.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on a conference call with the league's Board of Governors, reportedly set a target date of July 31 for the resumption of the NBA season.
As of today's date, the NBA has not finalized the format or the location of when, where, and how the NBA season would return, but the results of an NBA GM survey that were released on Friday could shed some light on the league's thoughts.
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First and foremost, in the survey the NBA discussed four potential scenarios:
One would involve all 30 NBA teams returning to the court to finish a 72-game season. At the end of the 72 games, there would be a play-in-tournament, before the playoffs began.
The second scenario would involve 22 teams, the 16 teams currently in the playoffs, and six additional teams with chances of still making the playoffs. In that scenario, there would be games to determine the final seeding, and a play-in-tournament for the final playoff spots before the playoffs begin.
The third scenario would involve 20 teams playing in a World Cup style group play format before meeting with the higher seeds like in a normal playoff format.
Finally, the fourth scenario would just take the current 16 teams in the playoff picture and go directly to the traditional NBA playoff format.
A play-in-tournament would likely be between the 7-10 seeds in both conferences battling against each other for the final two playoff spots.
Reportedly, the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks, both the number one seeds in the Western and Eastern conferences, respectively, prefer the play-in-tournament scenario over the World Cup Group Stage scenario.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, 53 percent of NBA general mangers in the survey voted for the latter scenario, with 16 teams going directly into the playoffs.
Despite the results of the survey, the Commissioner will likely still choose what he believes to be the best and safest option for the game to return to the hardwood. According to reports, Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan on the call today advocated for the prioritization of the health and safety of all players, coaches, staff, and organizations when returning. Jordan believes that teams and players should not have to risk their own health and safety for meaningless games to be played, and it appears like the general managers across the league agree with him.
Last week, the league entered into talks with Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida to be the hub for the eventual return of the NBA. According to sources who spoke to NBC LA on the condition of anonymity, Las Vegas has also been discussed as a second hub city in addition to Orlando if the NBA brought all 30 teams back or potentially more than 20.
The NBA has still not made any final decisions on when, where, and how the season will return, but needless to say, Friday was a pivotal moment in the league's eventual return and an official announcement from the commissioner could happen in the next couple weeks.