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Clippings: Reimagining the NBA Format

The NBA is thinking out of the box about how to potentially host more games this season, including at neutral sites like Las Vegas.

2019 Las Vegas Summer League - Day 8 - Indiana Pacers v LA Clippers Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

On Sunday, the President of the United States announced that the country will continue social distancing through at least April 30, further pushing back the timeline for a potential return of this NBA season.

As ESPN’s Brian Windhorst wrote, the NBA has been paying particularly close attention to leagues in East Asia for a template on how to resume playing basketball. These leagues — including ones in China, Japan, and South Korea — suspended play a few weeks before the NBA. Japan attempted to restart its league last week without fans but had to cancel games when a player and a referee had fevers at separate locations. South Korea, which has been relatively successful at mitigating the spread of the coronavirus, had plans in place to resume league operations on March 29 but instead decided to cancel the remainder of its season.

Meanwhile, in China, the league was targeting an April 15 return after suspending the season on January 24. They called back foreign players so they could enter a 14-day quarantine and be ready in time to play. Per Windhorst, the CBA planned to play games in empty arenas in areas of China that have not been hit as hard by the COVID-19 outbreak or places that have effectively quarantined. The hope was to finish out the regular season in this modified format before including fans in the postseason. However, China has delayed a potential restart to later in April or even May.

The NBA has been taking notes from China regarding how to resume games. They have considered moving the entire league to a neutral site like Las Vegas, a college campus in the Midwest, or even the Bahamas. Location is just the first of many considerations the league will have to make; chief among the remaining factors is how many games should be played, both in the regular season and in the playoffs.

Let’s bring the question to the Clips Nation community: If the NBA season were to come back at some point in the summer, how do you think games should be played? What location should the league pick to host games? Should playoff series remain the same length? Or, should the NBA just look forward to next year and cancel the remainder of the 2020 season? Let us know in the comments.

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