There is no end in sight for the current break of the NBA season due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. The league is “very determined to have a champion,” according to Marc Berman of the New York Postand they are exploring a number of creative options to ensure they get there.
While a single elimination tournament is probably off the table, according to Berman, the idea of a three game streak in a truncated postseason is at stake. Sowing, assuming the season has finally started, probably won’t change much, as the idea of ending the regular season is “barely an option” at this point. Instead, the league would like to ensure that the teams reached 70 games – a key indicator in local broadcast offerings, although this is not a priority at the expense of the post-season.
That postseason could be played in a city to avoid travel problems during this pandemic. Several non-NBA regions have been discussed, including Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Hawaii, Louisville and the Bahamas. An NBA city was listed by Berman as a possibility: Orlando. Magic would be the seed n. 8 of the Eastern Conference if the season ended today, giving them the theoretical advantage of the home court as long as they stay alive.
While the timing isn’t set in stone, Berman reports that late June or early July are currently considered the best scenario. Pushing the postseason so late in the summer would therefore bring the opening of next season at Christmas to give the players a fair offseason. Whether this would become the new normal season or the next one would be abbreviated to return to a normal schedule for the 2021-22 campaign at this point is unknowable.
The league is still trying to figure out what it is and is not feasible as the nation suffers its worst pandemic in a century. If ending the season is safe, even in a limited way, as has been discussed, the league would certainly like to do so. There are too many variables at the moment to determine if this will be a possibility.