NBA commissioner Adam Silver held talks with NBA general managers Thursday and followed that with a Board of Governors meeting Friday. But according to a source he remains still in the planning phase for a return to action.
While a late-July start-up in one location - most likely Orlando - remains the most likely scenario, Silver has yet to commit to any plan.
For Silver, these remain information-gathering expeditions - for him and for the team officials and owners he speaks with, trying to find the safest route back to games. But unlike the National Hockey League, which announced a plan for a return, Silver has yet to decide on a way back. But the consensus seems to be pointing to a direct-to-playoffs format, abandoning the remaining portion of the regular season, and leaving all or many of the teams out of the top 16 at the time the season was suspended done for the season.
“Adam, he’ll do what he does best,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in an appearance on ESPN’s The Jump. “He’ll talk to all the different owners and get their perspective and bounce ideas off them, get their feedback, find out their logic and then we’ll all get together to make a decision. That’s one of the great things about Adam, he’s open-minded. He’s willing to listen to just about anything and he knows how to herd cats, which the 30 Board of Governors typically end up being.”
In a poll of NBA general managers that was obtained by ESPN, 16 of the 30 GMs voted for the league to go straight to the playoffs with the traditional 16 teams - the top eight in each conference. Eight GMs voted for all 30 teams to return to action with a play-in tournament. There are different plans on the table, including just the normal 16 playoff teams participating to 20 teams and a 22-team format that would allow all teams within six games of the playoffs to participate.
Cuban said that the goal is to start next season in December, which would mean this season would have to be completed by the end of September to allow a full two months offseason during which the draft could be held. He pointed to Aug. 1 as a starting date, but reports from the Board of Governors call said that Silver has told them July 31 is the likely target date.
While more teams, including the Knicks, announced the opening of their practice facilities Friday, bringing to 26 that are open, the answer will likely arrive in the next week who will be heading to Orlando to stage a training camp there in anticipation of games. Teams will follow the guidelines set forth by the NBA for now, working out players individually with very stringent safety measures.
But when they return to play they are aware that there are no certain courses to ensure safety for players and staff.
“The only certainty I have is it’s going to be safety first,” Cuban said. “Just be honest and transparent. Where they have uncertainty, where they have questions without answers, we tell them exactly what we know. There’s no fail-safe approach.”