Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has suggested a plan to the NBA league office that would include all 30 NBA teams playing five to seven regular-season games before a play-in tournament to determine the final two playoff seeds, he told ESPN on Tuesday.
Cuban considers it a must for all 30 teams to participate in the resumption of the NBA season, tentatively planned to take place at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, because of the financial impact of fulfilling local television contracts.
In Cuban’s proposal, the top 10 teams from both conferences would qualify for the postseason and be reseeded based on record. There would be two play-in matchups — either single games or a best-of-three series — pitting seeds 17 vs. 20 and 18 vs. 19. The winners would advance to play the 15th and 16th seeds for the final spots in the playoff bracket.
The playoffs would then proceed with best-of-seven series.
A point Cuban emphasizes is that all but two teams — the exceptions being the Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors — would have a mathematical possibility of qualifying for the postseason under his proposal. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks, the teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, are four games behind the 10th-place Charlotte Hornets.
“It’s fair. It’s entertaining,” Cuban told ESPN.
Cuban’s Mavericks would stand to have the most to lose in a play-in scenario under previously discussed terms, which would include the teams that are seventh through 10th in the conference standings.
The Mavs are seventh in the Western Conference standings with a 40-27 record, eight games ahead of the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies. Dallas’ record is better than all but four teams in the East.
Cuban acknowledges it would be challenging to schedule all the games required to make his proposal work. However, he believes it is the plan that would best address the league’s financial issues and desire for competitive fairness, as well as allowing playoff teams to ramp up for the postseason, hopefully limiting injuries after a long layoff.
Cuban’s concern with the reported World Cup-style group stage idea, aside from not including all 30 teams, is that it “throws away the value of the whole season.”