Last Updated on June 2, 2020

**UPDATE: OKC Thunder Owner Urges 30-Team Restart

According to ESPN, Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett has issues with the NBA’s proposed 22-team restart in Orlando, FL. Although the Thunder will be part of those 22 teams regardless, the owner is considering the impact the shortened season will have on smaller market teams.

“The inequities facing smaller markets had to shape the league’s thinking, Bennett suggested. Nine months without games — March to December — could have an impact on developing players, cultivating sponsorships and selling tickets in markets where franchises struggle to gain a hold,” wrote ESPN.

Bennett has a point about the toll this shortened season could take on small-market teams, but it’s going to be hard to convince some of the players on those teams to play if there is no chance of making the playoffs. Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers already said he would not play if he wasn’t given a “true opportunity to get into the playoffs.”

The NBA appears to be coming back soon, but there are still details to work out before it does.


The NBA Is Back

The NBA is back — almost. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the league is moving forward with a tentative plan to return to action on July 31. Commissioner Adam Silver is pushing for July 31 as a start date, but the actual format of the NBA’s restart is still up in the air. According to Charania, there are four scenarios in play.


Four NBA Season Completion Scenarios:

  • 16 teams with the playoffs starting immediately
  • 20 teams with group play
  • 22 teams with some games and a play-in tournament
  • 30 teams playing to 72 regular-season games before a play-in tourney

Of course, hearing that the NBA has a start date — even if it isn’t concrete yet — is a major step in the right direction. Teams are beginning to open up training facilities for voluntary workouts for individual players. The logical next step would be to hold training camps at team facilities before heading down to Disney World for the finish to the 2019-20 season.

The NBA recently polled all 30 general managers on what the league should do to restart the season and these “playoffs-plus” formats are definitely a possible option at this point.

What scenario the NBA decides to move forward with will have a massive effect on who is favored to win it all. The Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Los Angeles Clippers are the early favorites to win the 2020 NBA title, but these playoffs will be different from any other year.

For one, these teams will lose their homecourt advantages in a potential “bubble” scenario. Furthermore, a 20-team format with group play would put the top teams on equal footing with everyone else in their group. Add in the long layoff that players have already experienced and it’s clear that this year’s playoffs have a high potential for upsets.

For the first time in a long time, the NBA has good news to push. Obviously, there are still plenty of details to work out and hurdles to jump, but it feels like the 2019-20 season is going to be back sooner rather than later.