The NBA is in talks with the National Basketball Players Association and broadcast partners about making dramatic changes to the league calendar, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe.
The alterations would include shortening the regular season to a minimum of 78 games, reseeding the four conference finalists, and adding a 30-team in-season tournament and a postseason play-in. The hope is for the NBA to bring a vote to the Board of Governors meeting in April that would introduce at least some of these changes in the 2021-22 season, sources told ESPN.
Teams would be reseeded in the semifinal round of the playoffs based on their regular-season record, which could create an NBA championship series with the best two teams. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has reportedly been pushing for these changes and is a fan of an in-season tournament resembling European soccer's.
The in-season tournament would include 30-team participation that starts with a divisional group stage of scheduled regular-season games. The six divisional winners would be based on home and away records in the group stage. The two teams with the next-best records would advance to a single-elimination knockout round and could potentially compete in the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals, reports ESPN.
It has reportedly been proposed that players and coaches would be compensated for advancing in the tournament and winning it.
The play-in proposal includes two four-team tournaments with each conference's seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th seeds. The seventh seed would host the eighth seed, with the winner earning the seventh spot, according to ESPN.
Any proposed changes cannot be made without approval from the NBPA.