With billions of dollars at stake, the NBA is scrambling to salvage what’s left of its season. So while players plan to side-step their boredom with an elaborate NBA 2K tournament on Friday, the powers that be are preoccupied with formulating potential playoff scenarios should the league resume play this summer as expected.
According to the New York Post, there are a myriad of options on the table, including a truncated best-of-three series or a single-elimination format—which deserves a resounding HELL NAH—though the most popular option appears to be a single-site, 16-team playoff with zero fans in the building, preceded by a five-to-seven game regular season warm-up. This would allow players to get back in game shape while ideally meeting the 70 regular-season game minimum that regional markets are contractually owed.
As far as what city could be hand-picked to host the postseason, UNLV in Las Vegas seems like an obvious choice, considering it hosts the summer league with all 30 teams every year, but other possible destinations include Orlando, Hawaii, Louisville, and—wait for it—the Bahamas.
Another suggestion, which isn’t as outrageous as it sounds at this point, is to…play on a cruise ship.
“Maybe if you can take two of those massive cruise ships, and there’s testing before everybody goes on the ship,” NBA analyst Jay Williams explained on ESPN’s Golic and Wingo. “You allow the player and their immediate family being that wife or their kids are allowed to go with them. And you have an Eastern Conference cruise ship, and you have a Western Conference cruise ship.”
He continued, “You never really go to shore. You stay out on the cruise ships. You build two courts on those cruise ships. […] Team members and their family members could be isolated to a degree for that span—if that’s 40 days, whatever it may be. You go right into the playoffs. Maybe give a week for each team to prepare. But you go right into that for the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. And then you have the championship game on a cruise ship.”
If shoehorning hundreds of potential COVID-19 carriers into a cruise ship sounds like a stupid ass idea, it’s because it is. Though you could argue that the other options the NBA has on the table aren’t particularly better.
Best case scenario, we’re looking at the NBA being back in some form by the end of June/early July, with the 2020-21 season beginning around Christmas. And as to where the NBA Draft would fit in that timeline, your guess is as good as mine.
Just don’t ask NBA Commissioner Adam Silver how end-of-season awards, like Most Valuable Player or Sixth Man of the Year, will be handled.
“I’m not there yet,” he told Rachel Nichols on ESPN’s The Jump. “We’ll figure it out. I hope I’m not just in denial, but I’m just not there yet.”