The NBA appears to be closing in on their final formatting choice for a return this summer. Here’s what it means for the Chicago Bulls.
If NBA fans needed some good news to jump-start their Wednesday, they now have it. After weeks of rumors and speculation, it’s finally starting to look like the NBA is close to finalizing a plan for their return this summer.
Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, the NBA will discuss a 22-team return with the Board of Governors on Thursday. Said return will involve the 16 teams currently in the playoff picture and six teams on the outside looking in. This format will include a play-in tournament for the eighth seed as long as the ninth seed is four or fewer games behind the eighth seed. If the ninth seed is more than four games behind, they will not participate in a play-in tournament, and the eighth seed will be granted the spot.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski provided some clarity on who those last six teams would be:
- New Orleans
- San Antonio
Woj also noted that each team will play eight regular-season games prior to the playoffs starting.
What does this format mean for the Chicago Bulls?
For starters, it means the Chicago Bulls’ 2019-20 season is basically over. If the vote gets passed on Thursday, it’ll be officially over.
That isn’t the absolute worst news for Bulls fans. Sure, it would’ve been fun to see the team involved in this historic period of NBA basketball, but it’s not like the Bulls would’ve made any noise anyway. If the NBA went with some sort of tournament involving every team, the Bulls likely would’ve been blown out in their first contest against whichever top dog they got matched up against.
Now, the Bulls don’t have to worry about the possibility of injuries to guys like Zach LaVine, Coby White, Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen. They can just relax.
The biggest (and best) part of this for the Bulls is that they can now put the entirety of their focus on the offseason and building for next season. They don’t have to be distracted for a few months only to get destroyed by a legitimate contender.
Normally, August is the least exciting month of the year for hoops fans. It’s pretty much the only truly dead month. This summer, it looks like it’ll be different. In Charania’s piece for The Athletic, he mentions that the draft lottery and combine are expected to be in August. If that’s the case, those will be the most important dates of the summer for Bulls fans. It’s what will help set the stage for the 2020-2021 season.
Is it a bummer that Bulls basketball is likely over for the rest of the year? Of course. But this will give the Bulls’ new-look front office some much needed time to focus and prepare. Good things are on the horizon for this team.