After months of sifting through numerous scenarios, it appears that the NBA is gearing up to finally bring back the 2019-20 regular season. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced a shutdown of the season on March 11, but improvements and creative planning has made a return a real possibility.
As things stand, it appears that Walt Disney World is set to become the bubble location for games to be played, acting as a “campus environment” for teams. Although team travel parties will likely be limited, it appears plans are being discussed to allow family members to enter the bubble.
While a safe playing site seems to be established, the primary issue remaining is the format in which the season will resume. So far, several proposals are being considered but according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the NBA is against bringing all teams back:
The NBA has yet to endorse a plan, and only one of the four ideas presented on Friday’s board of governors call — bringing back all 30 teams — is no longer believed to be a legitimate consideration, sources said.
Amid reports of a 22-team plan possibly being the favorite, the NBA reportedly is open to just 20 teams as well:
A proposal for 20 teams remains alive, and that format would include New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio and Sacramento, sources said.
The New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings are all within four games of the eight seed in the Western Conference Playoffs, so it makes sense as to why the NBA would want to see them get a chance to compete for a postseason spot.
On the flip side, the Eastern Conference Playoff bracket seems set as the Washington Wizards are currently 5.5 games back of the eight-seed Orlando Magic.
As the NBA continues to evaluate its options, there’s a growing sense commissioner Adam Silver is going to use this opportunity to implement a new format.