Woj: NBA return-to-play plan focused on including Suns, expected to pass
The NBA is focused on including 22 teams in a return but will spend from now until Thursday to work out finer details of a 2019-20 resumption that could include the Phoenix Suns, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“They’re lining up behind (commissioner) Adam Silver and they’re ready to move toward a plan he, the players’ association … work together on,” Wojnarowski said on Monday’s edition of Get Up. “There’s a lot of focus right now … on a 22-team model of bringing teams back to Orlando in a play-in situation.
“The league is still digging down on details of what that would look like and they’re going to spend this week finalizing the structure, the format of a return-to-play.”
There is still not a certainty Phoenix would be included as the NBA comes back from a coronavirus-caused hiatus. On Friday, ESPN reported that a 20-team plan was still “alive.”
That said, it appears the NBA is still leaning toward allowing teams within six games of the playoffs to participate. At 26-39, the Suns are exactly six games behind the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.
Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento and San Antonio are all ahead of Phoenix and behind Memphis in the standings. In the Eastern Conference, only one current non-playoff team, the Washington Wizards, will return to play in the discussed 22-team scenario.
It appears the NBA wants some form of the regular season to tip off a return so teams have time to shake off rust before entering into a true postseason, regardless of the number of teams involved or the format. In the 22-team plan, it is expected a brief return of the regular season followed by a play-in tournament would lead into the playoffs.
Wojnarowski added that a final plan is expected to “overwhelmingly pass.” The league needs a three-fourths majority of owners to approve the plan, and that is expected to be voted upon Thursday.
The NBA season was halted March 11.