In Friday’s conference call between the NBA and the Players Association, Commissioner Adam Silver briefly addressed what the playoffs might look like in a prospective restarted season. There is no guarantee the season or playoffs will restart at all in the midst of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, but Silver notes that the NBA hopes that they can eventually have somewhat-normal playoff bracketing and series. The goal is still to have 7-game series in every round, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Sources: Silver told players that he still hoped that the playoffs would include a 7-game series in every round. He told players that those series could move faster without the need for travel, staying in a single site. Orlando and Vegas still tops.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 8, 2020
However, for a team like the ninth-place 29-37 Portland Trail Blazers, the playoff window is even more narrow: The longer the season takes to restart, the higher the likelihood that the league will abandon the regular season. And Silver says that if the regular season does not conclude, there are a “series of bad options” on the table for teams on the playoff bubble, like Portland. They may not get a further chance to win their way into the playoffs.
Yahoo Sources: Adam Silver acknowledged there would be a “series of bad options” to decide on pertaining to teams on bubble of making playoffs. He couldn’t guarantee those teams would have a chance to earn a playoff berth if hiatus extends too far out.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 8, 2020
The NBA has not announced a deadline at which they would cancel the remainder of the regular season.
There is no timetable in place to restart the NBA season, as the ongoing pandemic is still killing scores of Americans every week, and non-essential services are shut down in many areas of the country. With no cure or vaccine expected in the near future, there is little reason to expect the virus to disappear anytime soon. Epidemiologists have expressed doubts about whether sports leagues like the NBA should start back up at all in the near future.
The Blazers were one of two organizations to open their practice facility to players Friday, the soonest the league allowed teams to do so. More teams are looking at opening next week, including a few that are waiting to implement additional safety measures. Even though facility attendance around the league is reportedly voluntary for the players, some said today they are feeling pressure from their organization to “volunteer” to come in.