If the NBA and Sacramento Kings return to a regular season, it might only be for five more games. So what would be the point? The answer is simple: Money.
The NBA is making positive strides towards a potential return after 10+ weeks of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been an abundance of good news regarding a potential return to action, though things are still in the preliminary stages. There has been speculation as to whether the league would continue the regular season or not, something that holds much importance to the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings were 3.5 games behind the 8th and final playoff spot and had an unlikely shot at a postseason berth before the shut down. They had performed well after an abysmal start to the season, playing their best basketball yet under new head coach Luke Walton. But with each day that passed, it seemed more and more unlikely that the regular season would continue in any capacity.
However, as some sources have reported, the league would do their best to get each team up to 70 games played, and then start the playoffs based on the seeding after the finale. Teams have played around 64 games each at this point, so the league would essentially be tacking on a handful of games at the end of their schedule.
But why? What is the point of playing five or six more games when the gap between the 8th and 9th seeds in both conferences is 3.5 and 5.5, respectively? In the Eastern Conference for instance, the Wizards would have to win all 6 games and the Magic would have to lose all five of theirs for there to be any kind of shift to the playoff picture. Even then, the teams would be tied.
So why 70 games? Why not finish out the regular season in its entirety, or scrap the thing altogether? No team is going to put together a serious playoff run in 6 games after ~3 months of inactivity.
The answer lies where it usually does: money.
One of the biggest sources of income for an NBA team are their television deals, both locally and collectively as a league. In order to for the money to flow correctly given the contracts, the regional sports networks are promised 70 games, according to Brian Windhorst. This is especially important for a small market team like the Kings given that every single one of their contests during the 2019-’20 season was seen locally only.
If teams fail to reach the 70-game mark, then there will likely be refunds to hand out to the television networks. To give you an idea of just how much money goes in to NBA broadcasts, the NBA came to an agreement with ABC, ESPN, and Turner Sports in 2014 that was worth $24 billion over nine years.
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