After Friday's NBA Board of Governors call, the league is reportedly aiming to have the 2019-2020 season back in action on July 31st. NBA Insider, Shams Charania reported on Friday afternoon that while the NBA hasn't solidified a plan for return, the Philadelphia 76ers are hopeful to be back in action late July.
Now that we know when the NBA plans to return, what format will the NBA utilize to conclude the season? Well, that's where the league is lost. Initially, it seemed the NBA was going to skip straight to playoffs. Then, the idea of completing at least 70 games came about, so small market teams could honor regional television contracts.
However, non-playoff teams aren't exactly open to having players participate in a training camp and flying out to the bubble city just to compete in a few meaningless matchups without a chance at making the NBA postseason.
So after Friday's call, it seems the league is trending towards moving straight to playoffs, with a potential play-in for teams that are within six games of a playoff spot, according to ESPN's Romana Shelburne. And while a majority of NBA teams aren't thrilled with the idea of mixing conferences up for a 1-16 seeding playoff format, the change in playoff format hasn't been decided at the moment.
For the Sixers, the first-round seeding won't make much of a difference. Regardless of whether the league rolls with the 1-16 seeding format or the standard eight seeds between the Eastern and Western Conferences, the 76ers are likely to face the Boston Celtics first. But if the NBA does decide to go with the non-conference format, the Sixers could be in for a rough path to the 2020 NBA Finals.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_