NBA owners approve 22-team format for season to resume July 31
(Update: adding reaction from C.O. residents)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — On Thursday, NBA owners nearly unanimously (29-1) approved a 22-team format to resume the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida. While the Portland Trail Blazers got the invite, they are also the only team that voted against the proposal.
Some people in Central Oregon support the NBA’s return.
“We need something to do….Yes!” Mona Palacio told NewsChannel 21 in downtown Bend Thursday. “We definitely need sports.”
Others are not fully on board.
Chimanbai Patel said, “I’d say at this point it’s almost worth just waiting. I mean, if you win, did you really win? It wasn’t ‘The Full Monty,’ as they say.”
Under the plan, 13 teams out of the Western Conference and nine teams out of the Eastern Conference will play eight regular season games to decide playoff seeding.
The Trail Blazers would be entering as the ninth seed in the Western Conference. The top eight seeds in each conference will move onto the playoffs.
If after those eight regular season games, a No. 9 seed finishes within four games of the No. 8 seed in either conference, a play-in tournament with those teams will ensue.
In that case, the No. 9 seed would have to beat the No. 8 seed two games in a row to take over that final playoff spot. On the flip side, the No. 8 seed would only need to win one game to cement itself in the postseason.
This approved plan is now contingent on an agreement with Disney to use the Walt Disney World Resort as the single host site for all games, practices and housing.
Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard said publicly in late May that he would not play if the new format if the Blazers did not have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Portland does have a chance, and seems eager to resume play, but the team is still not completely satisfied with the proposal.
The Trail Blazers reportedly voted “no” on this proposal because the organization as a whole, including the players, felt there were better options on the table.
Portland was hoping percentages for the 2020 draft lottery odds would be reflected by a full regular season, rather than based off results that included games in Florida.
The lottery is scheduled for Aug. 25. The Blazers would have been one of the 14 teams to have a lottery pick, based on the standings when the season was suspended Mar. 11.
Now, the 14 teams will comprise of the eight not invited to Florida, and the six that do not end up moving onto the playoffs.
Shooting Guard C.J. McCollum took to Twitter Thursday to voice his support for the team’s decision.
The season is slated to begin on July 31, and would end no later than Oct. 12.
Other important dates outlined in this proposal: the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery on Aug. 25; NBA Draft on Oct. 15; start of the 2020-21 regular season on Dec. 1.
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