One of the various play-in tournaments the NBA is considering includes one scenario that would keep the Knicks home and the Nets possibly having to play their way into the playoffs.
According to an NBA source, Thursday’s annual GM meetings, held over video-conference, gave no clear indication as to which way commissioner Adam Silver was leaning, other than the hope that games would begin around mid-July.
“While there seems a momentum to restart, all return-to-play options remain up in the air,’’ the source said.
The crux of the matter is whether to bring all 30 teams back to the bubble site, which might end up being Orlando’s Disney World.
One scenario is having the 16 teams in playoff position (the top eight in each conference) come back. Another consideration is an in-between mix, around 20 and 24 teams, that would feature a play-in tournament.
In one reported play-in proposal, the top 10 teams in each conference as of the March 11 standings would return to action. The NBA shut down that day due to the coronavirus.
The clubs ranked 7-to-10 would stage a tournament to determine the seventh and eighth seeds.
The Nets are in the No. 7 spot with a record of 30-34. Without the rehabbing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, they may not have enough to make it to the playoff tournament. The Wizards and Hornets are the ninth and 10th seeds, respectively. The Knicks wouldn’t even make it to the fan-less bubble site under this option, as they are in 12th place at 21-45.
In another play-in option that The Post previously reported, the top 12 teams in each conference would return.
The teams ranked 9-12 in each conference would battle in a play-in event — with the winner facing the current eighth seed to advance to the playoffs. That event would keep the Knicks alive to break their six-year playoff drought. The play-in ideas are to incentivize a return to play for teams that were out of the playoff chase, as playing more meaningless regular-season games could encourage tanking.
The draft lottery structure is another big issue in these play-in formats. If the Nets don’t qualify for the playoffs in the 20-team scenario, it’s unclear if they would then qualify for the lottery.
Meanwhile, the lead up to a formal training camp, which could take place around mid-to-late June, continues to be a convoluted mess, despite an ESPN report stating Silver will offer up guidelines by June 1.
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Silver reportedly would like players to report to their home cities around June 1 for more measured, informal workouts leading to a three-week training camp — half of which would be held in their home facilities, half in Orlando. The Post reported last month at least two Knicks players are concerned about returning to the New York area, which is a COVID-19 hotspot.
Twenty-one teams already have opened their facilities for players to do voluntary individual workouts, which includes four players allowed inside at a time.
However, the facilities for the Nets and Knicks are shut down to players under government guidelines with the lockdown possibly extending to June 13.
ESPN reported teams such as the Knicks and Nets have asked whether their teams can instead meet up in Orlando for retraining in early June.
One thing is clear: A source confirmed that traveling parties at the bubble site will be reduced to 35 people rather than the usual 50 or so, as noted on the GM call. That means a potential across-the-board cut of some coaches, trainers, front-office personnel, public-relations staffers and injured players.
“A logical move under the circumstances,’’ the source said.
Last week, The Athletic reported Orlando was the “clear frontrunner” to be the solo site for fan-less season’s resumption with Las Vegas all but out of it. The previous idea was to have the Eastern Conference in Orlando and the West in Las Vegas.
Essentially, nothing’s been settled and a setback with the nation’s coronavirus battle could still scuttle the season.
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