Report: NBA Looking to Resume Season on July 31, End Finals by October 12
The NBA is beginning to finalize plans for the resumption of the 2019-20 season, with July 31 chosen as the league's preferred start date, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The league is targeting Oct. 12 as the last possible date for Game 7 of the NBA Finals, per Wojnarowski. The NBA's Board of Governors will reportedly vote on the league's proposal on Thursday, though the final details of the plan still need to be confirmed by the NBPA.
The 2020 playoffs will be unlike any in league history, and not just due to the dates in which the postseason is held. The NBA is reportedly leaning toward a 22-team playoff format in which the No. 8 seed in each conference will be decided by a play-in tournament. Teams currently within six games of the No. 8 seed in their respective conference will be invited to resume the season, a group that includes the Pelicans, Blazers, Spurs, Kings, Suns and Wizards, per Wojnarowski.
The format of the playoffs isn't the only alteration to the 2020 postseason. All teams that return to play will be located in Orlando, with the rest of the 2019-20 season held at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex. No fans will be permitted at games, and teams will likely have to bring a reduced number of employees to Orlando.
The Rockets currently sit No. 6 in the Western Conference at 40–24. They are slated to face the Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs if the current seeding holds, though they could rise above the No. 6 spot if the NBA has regular-season games played prior to the postseason. Houston is currently tied with Oklahoma City at 40–24, and the Rockets sit just one game back of Utah for the No. 4 seed.
2019-20 will mark the Rockets' eighth straight year in the playoffs, though they have not reached the Finals since 1995.