NBA Could Trim Playoff Series to Best-of-Five After Coronavirus Suspension

Michael Shapiro

The NBA is considering a slate of potential changes to the 2019-20 season after the coronavirus suspension, including a potential alteration to the league's playoff schedule, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The most significant change could impact the postseason, as the NBA is considering "shortening early playoff series from best-of-seven to best-of-five," per Wojnarowski. The NBA is also reportedly considering a plan to play "only several more regular-season games," before the playoffs.

The NBA held best-of-five series in the first round from 1984 to 2002. It went to a best-of-seven format for all playoff series beginning in 2003. 

League revenue could be the biggest obstacle standing in the way of a best-of-five format. NBA owners would lose both gate and television revenue from a shortened playoffs, though a sizable decline in revenue is already guaranteed due to the current coronavirus suspension. The NBA raised its credit line to $1.2 billion on Tuesday, a significant bump from the previous credit line of $650 million, per Wojnarowski.  

"NBA owners are awaiting the league's financial projections on lost revenues, which are expected to be shared with them soon," Wojnarowski wrote on Wednesday. 

Houston is currently No. 6 in the Western Conference at 40–24. James Harden and Co. would face the Nuggets if the playoffs began today, with the first two games played in Denver. The Nuggets would also host a potential Game 5 if necessary.

The NBA has not finalized any plans to alter the regular season or playoffs. No return date has been announced amid the indefinite coronavirus suspension.