While Clay Bennett argued for all 30 teams be given the chance to resume their season in order to help small market teams sustain their business, Ramona Shelburne writes that Michael Jordan "made an impassioned plea for the league to invite only the 16 teams currently in the playoff picture keep as close as possible to the traditional format because of the increased risk of injury to players after such a long layoff, and the increased COVID-19 risk that comes with each additional person invited into the bubble."
Jordan, like Bennett, owns a small market franchise.
Adam Silver said the choice he made for 22 teams was guided by the advice of Jordan.
"Once the playoffs start, and this was a point made by Michael Jordan, whose team is not one of the 22 teams [that will play in Orlando], but he is clearly the most respected voice in the room when it comes to basketball. He felt it was very important that after we established the 16 teams, we not get gimmicky. Because there were a lot of proposals on the table to do unique tournaments and do pool play like you see in international competition. And we took many of those proposals very seriously.
"But, ultimately, I agreed with Michael. There's so much chaos in the world right now, even before the racial unrest we are experiencing right now, that let's come as close to normal as we can. And that is top eight in the West, top eight in the East, playing four rounds of seven games. So that is what we intend to do, and our goal is to crown the champion."