NBA pondering playoff shake-up: report

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The NBA is studying the possibility of a radical shake-up which includes a new format for the playoffs, a shorter season and a separate knockout cup competition, ESPN reported on Saturday.

The network claimed on its website the league was in discussions with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) about a range of proposals which could be introduced for the 2021-2022 season.

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One of the most significant changes mooted would see the final four teams in the playoffs reseeded on the basis of their regular season records, rather than by conference.

That would open the door to the possibility of two teams from the Western Conference or Eastern Conference being able to meet in the NBA Finals.

The ESPN report said the NBA was also studying the feasibility of an in-season cup competition featuring 30 teams, an initiative league commissioner Adam Silver has floated in the past.

The shake-up would see the regular season reduced from its current 82 games to at least 78 games, the report said.

Under the proposed cup competition, the teams finishing on top of the six NBA divisions — Atlantic, Central and Southeast in the East; Northwest, Pacific and Southwest in the West — would advance to a knockout phase, along with the two teams with the next best records.

The eight teams would then play off in a single elimination bracket, ESPN added.

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ESPN reported the NBA would only be able to move forward with the reforms with agreement from the NBPA. If an agreement is obtained, the proposals could be voted on at the NBA’s board of governor’s meeting in April.

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