NBA commissioner Adam Silver is facing one of the most important decisions of his career. Figuring out if and how the 2019-20 season can continue is a massive undertaking, and Silver has been in charge from the beginning.
Some of the details appear to be figured out, like the bubble concept, but so much more still needs to be done. Among other factors, the league must determine how strict to be with the players who go to the bubble.
They want to keep everyone healthy but Silver is adamant about not wanting to lock players inside hotel rooms. Another point of contention is the format of a return, as they could simply return with the 16 playoff teams as it currently stands, or they could go a little more creative with it.
Either way, there is a sense Silver is beginning to realize that now bringing back all 30 teams may be the most sensible option, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Privately, Silver has been considering the idea that there are plenty of sensible reasons to pare down the roster of teams in Orlando.
“Over the weekend, you’re getting a sense the league is starting to realize: Less is more,” one high-ranking Eastern Conference executive told ESPN.
This is likely because bringing back 30 teams will be far more difficult when it comes to managing everyone’s health and competitive factors. And while risking it for teams that will be at the bubble for more than a month may be worth it, it may not be for a team that won’t even get a playoff game.
There have been a number of options for the return to play. Some have been simple and require that only 16 teams come to the bubble, whereas others have 20 or even more teams making their way to Orlando in order to do a new form of playoffs or play-in tournaments.
Given that what’s going on is already strange and unprecedented, perhaps it’s best to keep the changes to the league itself at a minimum. It will already be tough to navigate playing all the games in a single location without fans, so learning a new playoff format as well could add complications.
All of these things are a part of what makes this such a difficult decision for Silver. But it seems as though we’re nearing a finalized plan.