Atlanta Hawks leadership is making it known that the organization would like to be involved in the NBA’s “bubble” restart to the 2019-20 season in Orlando. However, reporting continues to indicate that the Hawks are likely to be left out of the mix, with Shams Charania of The Athletic providing additional clarity on Wednesday morning.
Charania indicates that NBA commissioner Adam Silver is “planning to propose a 22-team return to the 2019-20 season in a Board of Governors meeting on Thursday.” This arrives on the heels of extensive ESPN reporting centered on a 22-team model, with the reported date of October 12 for a theoretical Game 7 of the 2020 NBA Finals.
While the reporting of a 30-team model as “unlikely” is not necessarily breaking news, Charania indicates that the 16- and 30-team proposals “lost traction recently.”
The 16-team format would not provide teams currently out of the playoffs the opportunity to make a postseason bid, nor accomplish the financial upside of the other formats. The 30-team model, meanwhile, brings several bottom-feeding teams that do not belong in the bubble environment given the NBA’s medical safety and health priority.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski also reports further on the 22-team restart, leaning into the reality of its likelihood.
Each of the 22 teams will play eight regular season games in Orlando for seeding purposes for the playoffs, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 3, 2020
In addition to the reporting on the restart plan itself, Charania does pass along a tidbit that is of great interest to the Hawks with regard to the 2020 NBA Draft. The league indefinitely postponed both the NBA Draft Lottery and Combine on May 1, leading to intrigue on when the lottery would take place and whether the combine would occur in any form. The latter remains up in the air for health-related reasons, but Charania reports that the lottery is “expected to be in August.”
Additional conversations with regard to the lottery, draft, free agency and CBA considerations will be necessary in the coming days, with a lot left to decipher. For now, though, the 22-team format seems to be the most likely, which could leave the lottery as the next official NBA function that would involve the Atlanta Hawks.