Report: NBA to approve proposal of 22-team return, including Suns

Jun 3, 2020, 8:27 AM | Updated: 3:06 pm
(AP Photo/David Banks)...
(AP Photo/David Banks)
(AP Photo/David Banks)

The NBA’s board of governors will vote and approve a 22-team return plan that commissioner Adam Silver will propose to league owners on Thursday, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

That means the Phoenix Suns are expected to continue their season after the league moved on from considering return plans involving 16 and 30 teams.

Wojnarowski reported that the 22-team plan would allow teams within six games of the playoffs to participate at Disney World in Orlando. At 26-39, the Suns are exactly six games behind the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.

In the 22-team plan, an eight-game return of the regular season followed by a potential play-in tournament would lead into the regular 16-team playoff format, Wojnarowski reported.

It appears the Suns would have to be the ninth seed within four games of the eighth-seeded team to make a play-in tournament. The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Wednesday first reported details about the play-in tournament.

The play-in tournament would work as follows, according to sources: If the ninth seed is more than four games behind the eighth seed, the eighth seed earns the playoff spot; if the ninth seed is four or fewer games behind, then the eighth and ninth seed will enter a play-in tournament that is double-elimination for the eighth seed and single-elimination for ninth.

Charania added that the proposal would schedule the NBA Draft lottery and combine for sometime in August.

Due to the coronavirus that led to the season suspension, Charania added there are proposed health protocols included in Silver’s proposal, including guests not being allowed at games until the playoffs and bench players sitting further apart.

Wojnarowski said Monday that any return plan was expected to “overwhelmingly” pass with a three-fourths favorable vote required. The vote Thursday is expected to take place at 9:30 a.m. Arizona time.

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.

ESPN reported that the NBA hopes to return by July 31 and was aiming for a potential Game 7 of the NBA finals to be played by Oct. 12. The draft and free agency would follow, in order, immediately after the 2019-20 season ends in mid-October.

The NBA season was halted due to the coronavirus on March 11.

Penguin Air

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, right, looks to score a basket against Sacramento Kings forward KZ...
Kellan Olson

Devin Booker goes into superstar mode, Suns win 5th straight vs. Kings

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker carried the team to its fifth straight win on Monday with a superstar 44-point performance.
10 hours ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns reacts after being called for a foul against the Miami Heat d...
Jake Anderson

Deandre Ayton earns 1st career Player of the Week honor after Suns go 3-0

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton has been named the Western Conference Player of the Week, the NBA announced on Monday.
1 day ago
General manager, James Jones of the Phoenix Suns before Game One of the Western Conference Second R...
Kevin Zimmerman

James Jones promoted to Suns president of basketball ops, GM

Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones was promoted Monday to president of basketball operations and GM.
1 day ago
Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns shoots over Kyle Lowry #7 of the Miami Heat during the third ...
Kellan Olson

‘Part of the middy committee’: Mikal Bridges makes leaps in the midrange

Phoenix Suns wing Mikal Bridges has pieced together a skilled midrange game that is helping him evolve as a scorer.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) shoots over Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen during the sec...
Kellan Olson

Deandre Ayton dominates again, Phoenix Suns beat Utah Jazz

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton was a monster and the reason his team won for the second straight night.
3 days ago
Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns looks on during the second half of the NBA game at Fo...
Wills Rice

Suns continue poor shooting for 1st half deficit vs. Jazz

The Suns are on a second game of a back-to-back and more poor shooting lead to a 54-51 first half deficit against the Jazz Saturday night.
3 days ago
Report: NBA to approve proposal of 22-team return, including Suns