After weeks of discussing various scenarios to resume the 2019-20 NBA season, the league’s Board of Governors are expected to vote on, and pass, a 22-team format to conclude the season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Under this new format, the 16 current playoff teams will be joined by six additional teams — including the ninth-seed Portland Trail Blazers — and feature a play-in tournament, as detailed by Charania:
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.
The New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards and Portland Trail Blazers will be invited to Orlando along with the current playoff teams. Wojnarowski highlights that each of the 22 teams will play eight regular-season games to determine seeding, with the season expected to take place from July 31-Oct. 12.
The league will need to adopt several medical protocols in order to preserve any kind of “bubble” while finishing up the season at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Charania notes that proposed procedures will include:
— Players unable to shower in the arena, would need to do so in their respective hotels
— Bench players would sit in spread-out rows, inactive players would sit in the stands
— No guests until the playoffs
According to Yahoo Sports’ Keith Smith, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is expected to be the main host for the NBA while they finish out the 2019-20 season.
No NBA games have taken place since March 11, when the league suspended play indefinitely in response to the rise of the coronavirus pandemic. There have been over 1.8 million cases of the coronavirus in the United States and more than 105,000 deaths.
The Board of Governors will meet Thursday to finalize the outlined 22-team plan.