Sources: NBA to approve plan for 22-team return with eight regular-season games

From Woj (although, apparently Shams had the scoop first):

The NBA’s board of governors intends to approve a league proposal on a 22-team format to restart the season in Orlando, Florida, sources told ESPN.

The conference call and vote is set for 12:30 p.m. ET Thursday, sources said.

Commissioner Adam Silver and the league’s advisory/finance committee have shared the broad details of a plan with teams to play at the Walt Disney World Resort, sources said. The plan includes 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams, eight regular-season games, a possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed, and playoffs, sources said.

The top 16 teams in the Eastern and Western conferences will be joined by teams currently within six games of eighth place in the two conferences — New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio, Sacramento, Phoenix and Washington, sources said.

The play-in tournament will include the No. 8 and No. 9 teams — if the ninth seed finishes the regular season within four games of the eighth, sources said. In that case, the No. 8 seed enters a double-elimination tournament and the No. 9 seed a single-elimination tournament, sources said.

Teams will begin training at team sites in July and advance to full training camps in Orlando later that month, sources said.

Among the eight teams left out of the Orlando format, several are disappointed and concerned about how a nine-month window between NBA games affects their teams competitively and financially, sources said.

What a freaking weird ass way of handling this, no? So, they’re going to have regular season games, but the bottom eight teams in the league won’t be participating? So how are they regular season games if you’ve eliminated eight teams? I mean, I get the idea, which is that the league can sell more marquee match-ups in those final eight regular season games to help hype up the playoffs (while getting the playoff performers into shape), but it is still weird to see eight teams not participating while a “regular season” goes on for well over a week!

Obviously, we all know the real reason behind this, which is to do whatever they can do to possibly get Zion Williamson into the playoffs. And honestly, I can’t begrudge them about that. This set-up is not a terrible idea in general (the idea of a play-in game to give the teams like Portland and San Antonio a chance so that Dame Lillard will actually show up), but I just wish the other eight teams got to participate.

This, of course, also means that, hilariously enough, the Knicks did, in fact, lock in the #6 spot in the lottery by virtue of winning the final game of the season. Knicks gotta Knicks. One more #8 pick for the road!

Anyhow, this should be fun to watch. Heck, ANY sports would be fun to watch right now.