NBA Return Favored By August, But Not Before July 1st

Adam Silver

The NBA looks set for a mid-summer return under the watch of Adam Silver. Photo from Wiki Commons.

  • In the lastest COVID-19 NBA updated the league  has allowed players to leave their team’s market and return home
  • The Ban on organized team practices has also been extended indefinitely and teams have been given instructions on testing every person who enters facility
  • See new odds released on potential summer return dates to the hardwood for the NBA

Each day brings more NBA news as the COVID-19 pandemic develops. Odds pointed to the league returning some time after June 1st as recently as Monday, but the latest odds favor a return some time during July.

ESPN reported that players will be allowed to leave their team’s market this week, but organized teams practices are still banned.

Players are only allowed to travel in certain circumstances, however, and cannot leave North America because of the way the virus has spread across the world. Temperature checks have been recommended for everyone who enters a team facility, too.

Odds on NBA Return Dates

Prop Yes Odds No Odds at BetOnline
Next NBA game to be played on July 1st or sooner +135 -175
Next NBA game to be played on August 1st or sooner -140 +100

Odds taken Mar. 17th

Immediate End to Regular Season

The longer the suspension of the league lasts, the less likely regular season resumption becomes. It might seem unfair for teams pushing for an improved playoff seed, and would clearly benefit some and punish others, but ending the regular season as it stands is becoming a far more realistic possibility. Unfortunately for Adam Silver, this isn’t a decision that will go down well in Portland or New Orleans.

With odds pointing to a return some time in July, going straight into postseason basketball looks the most likely outcome.

A frustrating scenario for many, of course, it would be controversial. With eyes on the medium-term, though, the league will not want to risk the NBA Finals taking place once the 2020 NFL season has started.

It will be a long time before we know if the 2019-20 regular season is finished. In the meantime, Zion Williamson and Damian Lillard will have to remain prepared for an intense push for the eight-seed down the stretch even though they may not take the court again this season.

Shortened Post-Season

Just like the prospect of truncating the regular season, the probability of tweaks to the post-season increases the longer the suspension lasts. They may be left with only a small window to fit the playoffs in before football gets underway in the Autumn.

Shortening the first (and maybe second) rounds to best-of-five will be on the table. Many would like to see the first-round shortened anyway. Like with many other changes COVID-19 will cause, altering the start of the playoffs might stick long-term.

Rest days could be cut if Silver is prioritizing a shortened postseason. There will likely be a lot of discussions between the Players’ Association and the NBA to find a scenario that suits both.

2020 NBA Championship Odds Tracker

Play-In Tournament

A play-in tournament for the eight seed has been mooted in the past. Silver’s hopes of a mid-season tournament were quashed a few months ago, but the league’s suspension could present an opportunity to introduce a knockout, March Madness-style tournament.

If the regular season is cut short, a play-in tournament may be the best way to compensate the teams who were competing for a postseason berth.

With the mid-July return date in mind, a play-in tournament featuring the eight, nine, 10 and 11 seeds could take place over a few days with the playoffs getting underway before the start of August. Alternatively, the nine and 10 seeds could face-off with the winner facing the eight seed to decide who goes into the first round.

Of all the options, this would be the boldest. It would be the greatest potential long-term change to the way the league is formatted.

July Seems Safest

The league to be back before August 1st or sooner is a decent bet at -140. The NBA are armed with a catalogue of options for the end of the regular season and start of the post-season.

Games may well be played behind closed doors initially, and while that will be a surreal viewing experience, it should help them to play games sooner than they might have done if they waited for fans to be welcomed back to the arenas.

Pick: League to return before August 1st (-140) 

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