NBA playoffs could feature 22 teams with play-in tourney

Sam Amico

One NBA playoff scenario involves having teams battle for the eight playoff spot in each conference in a play-in tournament, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

In this situation, 22 of the league's 30 teams would be invited to a centralized location (with Orlando considered the heavy favorite), and "the six extra teams would compete with the two No. 8 seeds from each conference in an eight-team single-elimination tournament," Berman reported.

The top two finishers in the aforementioned single-elimination tourney would advance to the playoffs as the No. 8 seeds in the Western and Eastern conferences.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been holding separate conference calls with team owners, general managers and players union representatives in attempts to devise a plan to resume the 2019-20 season. It was suspended March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA is reportedly targeting July 31 as a return date and has been in talks Walt Disney World in Orlando to serve as the "bubble" location.

According to Berman, "The six extra teams would be invited on the basis of being within six games of the eighth seed on March 11."

Those six teams are the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards.

Another scenario involving 20 teams is also being considered. In this format, teams would be divided into two groups, and each would play the teams in its group twice, Berman wrote. The first-place finisher in each group would then advance.

In either scenario, teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves and others would be on the outside looking in. 

And with next season not likely to start until late December, all of those teams would receive an extended break never seen before in pro basketball.

Silver has another conference call set up with team owners for Thursday, ESPN reported.