The NBA is planning a Thursday vote of the league’s board of governors — with owners expected to approve commissioner Adam Silver’s recommendation on a format to restart the season in Orlando, Florida, sources tell ESPN.
The NBA has been examining several plans for a return to play, but numerous members of the board of governors tell ESPN that there’s growing support for a plan to bring 22 teams to Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in July.
This format likely would include regular-season and play-in games to compete for playoff berths in both the Eastern and Western Conferences, sources said.
The NBA needs a three-fourths majority of owners to approve a return-to-play plan, and an overwhelming majority of owners expressed a desire to do precisely that on both a board of governors call on Friday and later in interviews with ESPN.
“We are lining up behind [Silver] on this,” one owner told ESPN on Friday. “The posturing will end. Nothing is going to be perfect for everyone.”
The NBA has yet to endorse a restart plan, and only one of the four ideas presented on Friday’s board of governors call — bringing back all 30 teams — is no longer believed to be a legitimate consideration, sources said.
The 22-team plan would include teams that are currently within six games of the final playoff spots in each conference, sources said. New Orleans, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento and San Antonio would land in Orlando under those guidelines, with Washington joining as the only team within six games of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
A proposal for 20 teams remains alive, and that format would include New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio and Sacramento, sources said.
Discussions have centered on these formats, including several regular-season games and a play-in tournament to decide the playoff participants.
Regardless of how many teams are ultimately included in the playoffs, the National Basketball Players Association has consistently stressed that it wants several regular-season games to be played prior to the start of the playoffs, sources said. That has been a prevailing sentiment among several contending teams that prefer a tuneup before beginning the postseason, sources said.
The NBA and NBPA also are mindful of generating revenue on the resumption of the season, and playing regular-season and play-in games will generate more money than simply restarting the season with playoff games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. ESPN is owned by The Walt Disney Company.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe contributed to this story.