The Future of the NBA Is On the Line. Just What is Adam Silver Going to Do?

3 min readMay 30, 2020


Barring a devastating reignition of the coronavirus pandemic, the good news is the NBA is going to resume the season. The bad news, however, is nobody knows what the resumption of the season is going to look like.

Fortunately, it looks like we’re not going to have to wait much longer to find out exactly how, where, and when the league will resume the season as the Board of Governors will approve plans to proceed this coming Thursday. The league surveyed teams’ general managers whether to finish the regular season with more games, conduct a play-in tournament, or go straight into the playoffs and whether to seed the playoffs or stick with conferences.

While nobody knows for sure what Adam Silver will recommend, Twitter is flooded with rumors as to what his plan will include. Using that info and common sense, here’s my take on what Silver’s plan might look like:

What do we know?

  1. The teams are ready to approve the plan commissioner Adam Silver recommends. The owners understand this a challenging time for the league and completely trust Silver to make right decisions.
  2. The season is scheduled to resume on Friday, July 31st, which gives the league time both to prepare to play as well as time to finish the playoffs and offseason in time to start next season on Christmas Day.
  3. Disney World in Orlando appears to be the likely venue for all games to be played to create a controlled bubble where players, coaches, key personnel, and their families can be safely isolated and protected.

What can we surmise?

  1. There’s a good chance there will be some form of play-in tournament, most likely involving the two teams holding the eighth playoff slot in each conference and the six teams who are within six games of them.
  2. There’s a good chance playoff teams will be seeded 1–16 based on record regardless of conference since five of the six team within six games of a playoff spot are in the West and only one in the East.

What remains unknown?

  1. Whether there will be additional regular season games to meet the 70-game minimum on team local television contracts since most teams had only played 63 to 66 games before the season was suspended.
  2. Whether playoff rules will be changed so teams can carry two-way players in addition to the 15 players on the roster and whether teams can designate more than the 13 players to be active for games.

Who wins and who loses?

  1. The winners would be the six teams — Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs, Suns, and Wizards — who get a shot at making the playoffs and the Lakers, who will be in a separate bracket from the Bucks and Clippers.
  2. The Losers would be the Grizzlies and Magic, who instead of making the playoffs would now have to participate in an 8-team play-in tournament and the Bucks and Clippers who will be in the same bracket.

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