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The vast majority of NBA general managers reportedly favor a “playoffs-plus” format featuring a play-in tournament by teams near the bottom of the postseason picture instead of a World Cup-style group stage.
According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, approximately 75 percent of general managers voted for the play-in tournament when asked to choose between the two in a survey delivered to teams last week.
O’Connor noted Commissioner Adam Silver held a conference call with the general managers Thursday to discuss the results of the survey.
“There was zero commitment to any one plan,” one general manager said. “But it was a call to gather more information.”
That wasn’t the only question on the survey, as the general managers unanimously agreed rosters should be expanded for the postseason. What’s more, half voted to cancel the regular season and immediately start the playoffs, while more than half voted to reseed the postseason 1 through 16 without regard to conference affiliation.
The World Cup discussion comes after O’Connor previously reported it was at least under consideration.
Such a format would break 20 teams up into “tiers” for round-robin play—much like the group stage of soccer’s World Cup—with two teams from each pool emerging into an eight-team second round. From there, the traditional best-of-seven playoff series format would be used.
Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that “teams have become increasingly skeptical of the league bringing back all 30 teams to complete the season” and pointed to a “playoffs-plus idea that includes 20 to 24 teams.”
In the playoffs-plus idea, teams such as the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings could battle for the No. 8 seed that the Memphis Grizzlies currently hold in the Western Conference.
O’Connor noted the top teams in the league, such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks, were against the World Cup format. That follows since they have top seeds locked down and wouldn’t have to play a round-robin format to advance and instead would have to play a lower seed in the first round in the playoffs-plus format.
“Adam isn’t taking the results seriously,” a team executive told O’Connor. “Every team is obviously gonna vote for what’s best for them.”
Silver is scheduled to talk to the board of governors on Friday.