The NBA is looking to play meaningful games as early as late July, according to a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Similar to the NHL’s return-to-play plan, the NBA is looking to have training camps at each team’s home city in early July, before restarting the season by late July or early August.
Sources: The NBA is working on multi-phase medical/safety protocols toward restart of play. Current projections have in-market training camps in July, then camps/scrimmages in Orlando, then resume play late July/early August.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 27, 2020
Unlike the NHL, the NBA hasn’t decided on a format yet. They could decide to finish the regular season (perhaps in an abbreviated format) to determine playoff teams in each conference, or simply move ahead with the 16-team tournament right away — possibly seeding teams 1-16, ignoring the East/West conference divide.
Under the 1-16 seeding format, the Toronto Raptors, with the third-best record in the NBA, would play the No. 14 seeded Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. A traditional playoff format would see the Raptors (No. 2 in the East) face the Brooklyn Nets (No. 7).
There’s also been talk of having an expanded 20-team tournament, in order to include the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, and San Antonio Spurs — four teams that trail the Grizzlies by just four games or fewer for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.