06/03 12:37 CDT AP source: NBA presents players with plan for season restart
AP source: NBA presents players with plan for season restart
By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Basketball Writer
The NBA has told the National Basketball Players Association that it will
present a 22-team plan for restarting the season to the league's board of
governors on Thursday, a person with knowledge of the situation said.
The teams that will be going to the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex on the
Disney campus near Orlando, Florida would play eight games to determine playoff
seeding starting around July 31 before the postseason begins, according to the
person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Wednesday
because the league has not released its proposal publicly.
The plan, once approved, would have 13 Western Conference teams and nine
Eastern Conference teams going to Disney and the cutoff being that teams must
be within six games of a playoff spot at this point. Playoffs would start in
August, and the NBA Finals will likely stretch into October, the person said.
The Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics
already have clinched playoff spots --- and, if only eight games are left, that
would mean the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles
Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets
would theoretically have clinched spots as well.
The Dallas Mavericks would be virtually assured of clinching a West spot,
holding a seven-game lead over eighth-place Memphis. So that would mean the
Grizzlies, Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio and Phoenix all would
be in the running for the No. 8 seed out West. In the East, Washington is six
games behind No. 7 Brooklyn and 5-1/2 games behind No. 8 Orlando --- so within
range of triggering a play-in series.
"I'm all in from the state's perspective," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a
news conference in Central Florida on Wednesday. "I don't think you could find
a better place than Orlando to do this. I think it's very exciting."
DeSantis met by phone with NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum on Tuesday. The
governor also said the state helped with the plans to make a golf match last
month featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning ---
one that raised $20 million for coronavirus relief --- happen. And Major League
Soccer announced Wednesday a plan to restart its season in Orlando.
"Orlando really could be the epicenter of the comeback of professional sports,"
For an NBA play-in series to happen to determine the No. 8 seed on either
playoff bracket, the ninth-place team would have to be within four games of
eighth place once the eight-game schedule of lead-in games is completed. If a
play-in series occurs, it would basically be a best-of-two --- where the No. 9
seed would have to win two head-to-head matchups to take over the No. 8 spot.
There would also be some jostling for playoff positioning happening in the
eight-game restart. In the East, Toronto and Boston are separated by three
games for the No. 2 spot and Miami, Indiana and Philadelphia are separated by
two games for the No. 4 spot. Out West, the Clippers, Denver, Utah, Oklahoma
City and Houston are all within four games of one another in the race for the
No. 2 seed on that bracket.
There are still some elements of the restart plan that could be changed, and
other matters are still being negotiated --- such as how much of a percentage
of their salaries that players will lose because some regular season games will
be canceled. If 15% of the regular season is not played, which would be the
current estimate based on the proposal, players would have to give up roughly
$610 million in salary for this season.
It's also unclear what will happen to the eight teams that would not be vying
for a postseason berth under the proposed format --- Charlotte, Chicago,
Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Cleveland, Minnesota and Golden State. If the
2020-21 NBA season doesn't start until December at the earliest, which would
seem to be a very real possibility, those teams could go about nine months
without playing games and some have expressed concerns over what that will mean
for player development.
The NBA suspended its season March 11, becoming the first of the U.S. major pro
leagues to do so after it became known that Utah's All-Star center Rudy Gobert
tested positive for COVID-19. The list of NBA players who were known to test
positive eventually grew to 10 --- not all were identified --- and Commissioner
Adam Silver said that the actual total was even higher.
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is a 255-acre campus with multiple arenas
that could host games simultaneously and has been home to, among other things,
the Jr. NBA World Championship in recent years. ESPN is primarily owned by
Disney, one of the NBA's broadcast partners.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports