Report: NBA Looking to Start Playoffs on Aug. 18, Begin Finals on Sept. 30
The NBA has a tentative schedule in place for the remainder of the 2019-20 season, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
The league's Board of Governors approved a plan last week to resume the season on July 31. It was announced that Game 7 of the NBA Finals would take place no later than Oct. 12, and the rest of the season's calendar now appears to be coming into focus.
The first round of the 2020 playoffs is slated to be begin on Aug. 18, either one of two days after the potential play-in matchups for the No. 8 seed in each conference, per Charania. The conference finals is set to begin on Sept. 15, with Sept. 30 targeted as the first day of the NBA Finals.
A quarantined playoffs in Orlando has eliminated team travel for the rest of 2019-20, allowing the league to hold a condensed postseason. While the playoffs will still feature the traditional slate of four seven-game series, there will be just one day off between playoff games with few exceptions. The NBA is reportedly willing to move up the start date for the playoffs and the Finals if time permits.
Moving up postseason dates could additionally allow the NBA to extend its offseason while minimizing the delay before the 2020-21 season. The league is reportedly targeting Dec. 1 as opening night for next season, though that plan was a "surprise," to NBPA president Michele Roberts.
Houston currently sits No. 6 in the Western Conference ahead of the season's resumption at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando. The Rockets are currently tied with the Thunder at 40–24, and they are one game back of Utah for the No. 4 seed in the West.