Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the NBA is targeting a July 31st return.
Charania tweeted the following:
“NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the league office informed Board of Governors that July 31 is a target date for return of season, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.”
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor was first to report the July 31st return date on Thursday.
In what form will the NBA actually return is still a big question mark.
According to Charania, the league is discussing four scenarios:
The first is going with 16 teams and straight to the playoffs, based on their current standings.
The second would feature 20 teams and group/stage play.
Another option is 22 teams with games to determine seeding and a play-in tournament for the final seeds.
There’s also a chance that they can bring back all 30 teams so they can complete a shortened 72-game regular season and then have a play-in tournament.
The NBA is also discussing the possibility of picking the 16 best teams, regardless of conference and have them seeded from No. 1 to No. 16. This was an idea that many fans proposed even before the COVID-19 pandemic and the league has discussed it recently. If they go with then the Milwaukee Bucks would be the No. 1 seed, facing the No. 16 Orlando Magic in the first round.
In February, 2018 LeBron James was asked about whether he would like the NBA to change the playoff format by seeding all 16 teams based on record or not, eliminating the conference format and he told Basketball Insiders’ Spencer Davies that he would “disagree” because the league has had “dominant conferences throughout time.”