Significant changes to the NBA’s postseason could be in place as early as 2021-22, the league’s 75th anniversary season. The new proposals are seeking to alter the current regular seasons schedule, consider re-seeding the four conference finalists, and there is the possibility of an in-season tournament as well as a postseason play-in tournament.
The NBA is in deep discussion with the NBPA (National Basketball Players’ Association) with the hope of bringing the items to a vote at the league’s board of governors meeting in April. If approved, the proposals would likely be in place for the 2021-22 season.
The WNBA currently seeds teams for the postseason without regard to a team’s conference. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been in favor of some sort of seeding in the postseason. The most popular proposal is to re-seed the four conference finalists. The idea is to have the two best teams play for the NBA title.
Silver also likes the idea of an in-season tournament modeled after most European soccer leagues. With the addition of an in-season tournament and/or a postseason play-in tournament, the NBA regular season schedule would be adjusted. The model being discussed the most would reduce the current 82-game schedule to 78 or 79 games. Depending upon the tournament play, it is possible a team could play a maximum of 83 games.
The postseason play-in tournament would work like this: There would be two four-team tournaments held in each conference. The seventh seed would host the eight seed and the ninth seed would host the tenth. The winner of the first game would automatically earn the seventh seed. The winner of the second game would play the loser of the first game for the final playoff spot.
To have any change in place for the 2021-22 season, the league and the NBPA would have to approve at the April board of governors meeting. Talks between all parties are ongoing, and change in the NBA is coming.