The NBA reportedly is in “serious” talks with the National Basketball Players Association and its broadcast partners regarding “sweeping, dramatic changes,” according to ESPN.
The reported changes would include “a reseeding of the four conference finalists, a 30-team in-season tournament and a postseason play-in,” per Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe. Sources told Wojnarowski and Lowe these changes would result in a shortening of the regular season schedule.
It appears the league is targeting the 2021-22 season to potentially introduce these changes. Here’s a snippet from ESPN’s report:
Discussions are progressing with hopes of bringing a vote to the April meeting of the league’s board of governors that would introduce some — if not all — of these proposals into the NBA’s 75th anniversary season of 2021-22, league sources said. The NBA still has work to do coordinating with constituents on the myriad implications involving the proposed changes.
Out of all of the proposals listed, reseeding of the four conference finalists seems to be the least dramatic and most likely. A potential east vs. west matchup certainly could create some intriguing matchups, and the league undoubtedly would enjoy creating some extra buzz one round prior to the Finals. Playoff play-in games could also come as an easy implementation compared to the other potential changes.
As for the in-season tournament proposal, the initial games would be included in the regular season schedule, per Wojnarowski and Lowe.
For the in-season tournament, the NBA is focused on 30-team participation that begins with a divisional group stage of scheduled regular-season games. Those pre-knockout-round games would be part of the regular-season schedule. Six divisional winners — based on home and road records in the group stage — and the two teams with the next-best records would advance to a single-elimination knockout round, league sources said.
Whether we like it or not, the NBA is looking to evolve, and it appears that’s coming in the not-so-distant future.