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In a conference call with front-office executives on Wednesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver implored teams currently outside playoff contention to cooperate with the league's potential plans to continue the season in some form, sources told The Athletic's Sam Amick.
Those on the call reportedly believe Silver's plea was in response to comments Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr made in late April. Kerr said his team is operating under the assumption its season is essentially over.
When the NBA season was suspended on March 11, the 15-50 (.231) Warriors were the only organization that had been eliminated from playoff contention. Still, each team was slated to play at least 15 more regular-season games, with some facing 19 outings remaining.
Inversely, only four teams have clinched a postseason berth, meaning 25 clubs hold an opportunity to qualify for the 12 remaining playoff spots. The four teams ranked ninth through 12th in the ultra-competitive Western Conference were all within four games of the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies when the league's hiatus began.
No matter how the NBA chooses to proceed - including the possibility of advancing straight to postseason play, an option some players believe will be pursued, according to Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown - the league will require its teams to put shared goals first.
In addition to the human stakes of attempting to restart NBA operations during a pandemic, the financial repercussions are monumental, too. The outright cancelation of the 2020 playoffs could result in around $900 million in lost television revenue for the league, one source told Amick.