12:31 AM ET
Dave McMenaminESPN Workers Author
- Lakers and NBA reporter for ESPN.
- Lined the Lakers and NBA for ESPNLosAngeles.com from 2009-14, the Cavaliers from 2014-18 for ESPN.com and the NBA for NBA.com from 2005-09.
Simply days away from Thursday’s vote of the NBA board of governors to approve a plan to restart the season with 22 groups in Orlando, Florida, a number of of the franchises thought of to be title favorites are internally discussing the best way to retain some semblance of the home-court benefit they fought to earn by means of 60-plus video games within the common season.
No plan has been formally proposed, and one can be unlikely to move as a result of it will require a two-thirds board of governors vote along with an settlement from the gamers’ union. Nonetheless, groups that will have historically had residence court docket have tried to determine incentives to breed the leg-up that internet hosting 4 video games in a seven-game sequence would have provided, sources instructed ESPN.
If nothing else, the league has discovered these previous a number of months that innovation and inventive pondering are its lifeblood to navigating a international pandemic that threatens to cancel the NBA playoffs and stop a champion from being topped for the primary time within the league’s 74-year historical past.
And so in a Hail Mary, some groups are attempting to invent a solution to change the home-court benefit they misplaced for an alternate benefit in Orlando.
Executives from the groups that will host a first-round sequence within the playoffs instructed ESPN that they’d inside discussions inside their very own entrance workplaces about reviving their home-court benefit in some vogue, and that some have already shared concepts with different groups in the identical scenario with the hopes of getting an ally when making an attraction to the league.
Sure, a few of the very groups that might quickly be making an attempt to eradicate each other within the postseason have been just lately working collectively in a shared pursuit to regain the benefit they’d have loved at residence.
Unusual instances make for unusual bedfellows.
A number of the situations mentioned, sources instructed ESPN, embody:
The upper-seeded workforce being awarded the primary possession of the second, third and fourth quarters, following the normal bounce ball to start the sport
The upper-seeded workforce being allowed to designate one participant to have the ability to be whistled for seven fouls as a substitute of six earlier than fouling out
The upper-seeded workforce receiving an additional coach’s problem
The upper-seeded groups having the ability to transport their precise hardwood residence court docket from their residence arenas to Orlando to attempt to protect the texture of their residence enjoying expertise
An off-court function during which playoff groups, so as of seeding 1-16, obtain first alternative on choosing which resort they’ll keep at within the ESPN Huge World of Sports activities Advanced and Disney World Resort. ESPN is owned by the Walt Disney Co.
“I do suppose the NBA cares about it,” one Jap Convention government instructed ESPN when requested about making up for home-court benefit. “I don’t suppose it is a high precedence for them.”
The NBA’s competitors committee — made up of householders, basic managers, gamers and coaches — held a gathering Tuesday and not one of the potential home-court benefit options had been raised, sources instructed ESPN.
The competitors committee acts because the league’s incubator to debate the deserves of incorporating aggressive rule modifications into the sport. It is a mind belief that serves as a buffer for the league, discussing new concepts earlier than recommending them to the board of governors for a proper vote.
Among the many questions posed by league executives to ESPN when discussing the substitute choices included questioning how lots of the proposed advantages would type a tough equal of the enhance that residence court docket brings. In addition they questioned whether or not the tweaks may come off as too gimmicky and compromise the legitimacy of the eventual champion in a postseason that is already atypical.
One government recommended to ESPN that the NBA ought to current the higher-seeded workforce a menu of league-approved choices earlier than every recreation — or probably every sequence — and have them choose one. On the one hand, it could possibly be an added wrinkle to the house viewing expertise for followers to search for once they tune in. On the opposite, it may come off akin to a contestant on the sport present “Who Desires to Be a Millionaire?” selecting between lifelines to assist with a remaining reply.
One other “radical” thought pessimistically floated in background discussions, one Western Convention government instructed ESPN, can be permitting the upper seed to choose its first-round opponent.
The chief didn’t consider the league would go for it.
An Jap Convention front-office member, working for a workforce at present slotted for the playoffs, did not like the novel thought both.
“Selecting your opponent can result in dangerous karma,” he instructed ESPN, noting that earlier G League experimentation led to upsets. “You possibly can offend the basketball gods.”
After all, as one league government warned ESPN, the league may decide that any first-time rule change in a playoff setting would simply trigger extra damage to the integrity of the sport than it will be value.
“For every downside you are making an attempt to repair,” he stated, “you are probably creating different issues.”
ESPN’s Malika Andrews and Tim Bontemps contributed to this report