By Peter Gleason
The NBA is seriously considering ditching the rest of its regular season and taking its playoffs to Las Vegas, if and when the coronavirus pandemic abates.
According to a report from Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, multiple team and league officials believe that “any chance of a traditional postseason is out.” But, the league has not given up on salvaging its season and is considering something drastic in order to do it.
One idea that has been floated which is beginning to gather some traction is holding the entire NBA postseason in Las Vegas and changing up the format accordingly. Though the situation is fluid, the NBA is looking into turning the first round and the Finals into five-game series and replacing the two rounds in between with a one-and-done-style tournament. As a league source relayed to SI, “nothing is off the table.”
So why Vegas?
Well, the NBA has been holding its summer league there since 2004 and the league has longstanding relationships with hotels and arenas in the city. Thanks to those relationships, it might actually be feasible to coordinate and house 16 playoff teams along with all the support staff, broadcasters and media members that would also need to be in Vegas for holding the postseason to work.
Regardless, the NBA is aware none of this can happen unless the spread of COVID-19 is reduced by a very significant margin in the next few months. “We all want to play,” a high-ranking executive from a playoff team told Mannix. “But we all know we can’t play until things are dramatically different.”