The NBA isn’t yet ready to announce a formal plan to restart the 2019-20 season and, according to reporting from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the league’s board of governors isn’t expect to hold an official vote during a meeting on Friday. However, additional information came to light through reporting from Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer on Thursday evening, with a recap of what transpired when NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke with the NBA’s general managers this week.
Prior to Silver’s meeting with decision-makers, a survey was distributed to gauge the opinions from all corners of the league. In the meantime, plenty of attention has been paid to restart plans that involve alternate formats, including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban publicly proposing a play-in tournament of sorts. With that in mind, O’Connor brings word that the league’s general managers, to the tune of a significant majority, would favor a play-in tournament to a “World Cup-style” group stage.
General managers were surveyed about a “playoffs-plus” format—either a play-in tournament between the bubble teams to determine the final seeds in the playoffs, or a World Cup–style group stage, which would replace the end of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs with a round-robin format. About 75 percent of teams voted in favor of a play-in tournament, sources said, while 25 percent of teams voted in favor of the group stage.
As O’Connor notes in the piece, there is plenty of incentive for each team to vote in its own interest, making the results slightly less indicative of the greater good. Still, the survey also returned a verdict of “half” of the league voting to cancel the regular season in favor of a playoff-only format.
It has to be said that, ultimately, this is a decision heavily weighed to the ownership level, rendering the viewpoints of basketball decision-makers at least slightly less important. In addition, the league and the NBPA must ultimately agree on whatever the proposed plan will be. It is certainly interesting to think about what might transpire, though, and the No. 1 takeaway from the reporting on the survey and Thursday’s call is a preference from the general managers on a play-in tournament over other alternative options.