NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have discussed implementing some major changes that would include a reseeding of the four conference finalists, a 30-team in-season tournament and a postseason play-in.
These possible changes would include the following:
- Shortening the season from 82 games to a minimum of 78 games
- A reseeding of the four conference finalists based on regular season record, which would potentially put the best two teams against each other in the Finals, regardless of their conference.
- A mid-season tournament with 30-team participation that begins with a divisional group stage of scheduled regular-season games. 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. Those teams could each potentially compete in the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. Proposals exist that would compensate players and coaches for advancing in and winning the tournament.
- A postseason play-in which would consist of two four-team tournaments featuring the seventh, eighth, ninth, and 10th seeds in each conference. In this situation, the seventh seed in each conference would host the eighth seed, with the winner of that single game earning the seventh spot. The ninth seed would host the 10th seed, with the winner of that game facing the loser of the 7-versus-8 match-up for the final playoff spot.
One proposal that has been discussed for the mid-season tournament could include a reward in the form of an extra draft pick for the winner, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.
The idea behind this is to hopefully motivate teams to make the tournament competitive by potentially adding a first-round draft pick on top of bonuses for players and coaches.
Silver is the main force behind all of these potential changes, as conversations between he and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts are ongoing.
The NBA cannot implement any of these proposed changes without an agreement with the NBPA.
Silver’s goal is progressing the conversation enough in order to bring about a vote at the April meeting of the league’s Board of Governors.
If ultimately ratified, the implementation would occur in the 2021-22 season.