Report: NBA Deciding Between Multiple Formats Ahead of Return
It seems increasingly likely that the LA Clippers will get the opportunity to compete for an NBA title this season, though the path the team takes to the Finals could end up looking a bit different than we all expected.
According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the NBA is polling all 30 of the league's general managers to get a sense of how the season should be restarted this summer. Several formats are being considered, and some of them could shake up the current playoff picture quite a bit.
For instance, Charania notes that the general managers could choose to resume the regular season with all 30 teams included — but only a maximum of 76 games would be played. In that scenario, the Clippers would still have 12 regular-season games to play before advancing to the postseason.
Most of the options are in line with the NBA's standard regular season and postseason formats, but there are some more creative ones at play that could make things especially interesting.
The league, could, for example, decide that a "Playoffs Plus" option is the best. That could mean a few different things: A.) The NBA would hold a play-in tournament for "bubble teams" to decide the final seeds, or B.) Replacing the first round of the playoffs with a group stage.
Additionally, the playoffs could be played under a traditional East/West format, or all 16 qualifying teams could be reseeded by win-loss records — something that's been discussed for the last several years, but was never really deemed possible due to travel.
In that scenario, using current win-loss records, the LA Clippers (4) would face-off with the Philadelphia 76ers (13) in the first round. And yes, a Clippers - Lakers NBA Finals would be a possibility.
Ultimately, any scenario will be a change from the norm, given the circumstances.
There's still no date set for an official return, though a potential schedule has been circulating on Twitter that has the first games taking place in mid-July.
No matter what decision the NBA makes, the LA Clippers will be among those expected to come out on top.