Amidst rumors that people within the NBA are pushing for the cancelation of the 2019-20 season, a new report indicates the league is hopeful to not only carry out a postseason tournament, but also play more regular season games.
Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times disclosed that every scenario the NBA has discussed to finish out the 2019-20 year starts with regular-season games:
In conversations with officials from across the NBA, it’s clear that significant pockets of the league remain hopeful some semblance of a regular season can be completed before the league would begin its playoffs.
According to one official, internal models show that an 82-game schedule and a typical 16-team postseason could be completed by early September if the league were to take the court again June 1. While no one expects the league to be playing games in a month, the desire exists to play as many games as possible. According to one executive, a serious proposal hasn’t come across the desk for a return to action that doesn’t include some form of regular-season games.
If the NBA returns, the conclusion of the regular season would have little impact on the seeding for the Lakers. They hold a 5.5 game advantage over the no. 2 Clippers in the Western Conference, a lead that is unlikely to be lost over the final 16 games. The Lakers are only two losses back of the Milwaukee Bucks for the top overall seed in the NBA, but homecourt advantage would seem to be immaterial in whatever set-up the league adopts to play the remainder of its games.
Where the regular season does come into play for the Lakers is helping the team round into form heading into the postseason. It has been well-documented that the team was playing its best basketball of the season before the shutdown, but that was nearly two months ago, and there will be an even longer layoff before games resume. Regular-season games provide the Lakers the opportunity to get back into shape and regain their chemistry, particularly if the league has to get right back into playing games without a pseudo-training camp to ease players into the situation.
As Woike notes, the regular-season games are also important for non-playoff teams to help fulfill their local television contracts.
The NBA presidents had a meeting earlier today, but the timing of this report feels oddly fortuitous on a day when LeBron James expressed his displeasure that anyone would think of cancelling the season. The King has spoken, and the NBA is listening.
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