A return to play still isn't set in stone for the NBA, but in the last week, NBA general managers were surveyed on how they'd like a potential return to be handled. Several formats were on the ballot, most notably including a play-in style tournament that would allow "bubble teams" to compete for the final seed in each conference as well as a group stage scenario. According to The Ringer, the results are in.
Kevin O'Connor reports that half of the league's general managers prefer to go straight to the playoffs, and just over half voted to re-seed teams 1-16 rather than the traditional East vs. West format. Additionally, 75% of general managers prefer to have a play-in tournament compared to 25% that prefer a group stage.
It's clear that the league is in favor of the play-in style tournament, and it's not hard to see why. The format would allow more teams the opportunity to qualify for the postseason, and the higher-seeded teams could potentially have an easier first-round opponent.
That said, O'Connor also noted that the survey was intended more to gather information than it was to definitively vote on a return format, which means this year's postseason might not change at all.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions regarding the league's resumption of play, and an exact return date is chief among them. The most recent report, which comes from The Athletic's Shams Charania, states that the first games could be played in late July or early August, but no one seems to know for sure.
If the league is to return this summer, it shouldn't be much longer before we get an official announcement.