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The NBA: ARRRGH!

The GoobNet Agency for Reintroducing Relegation to Recreational Game Hierarchies continues to increase the amount of promotion and relegation that takes place in North American sporting leagues. Herein we present the plan by which the National Basketball Association will introduce relegation.

The NBA is in a unique position in that there are no viable minor leagues in North America, but the league also has a great desire to expand beyond its current size. Therefore, in the following plan, we have provided for possible expansion, with new teams being added to lower leagues. Although we have not provided for addition of minor leagues, should any of the currently existing minor leagues establish themselves as viable in the long term, the GoobNet Agency for Reintroducing Relegation to Recreational Game Hierarchies will introduce them into the relegation structure at the appropriate time.

Since 2004, the NBA has been comprised of 30 teams, divided equally into two conferences that are themselves divided equally into three divisions. At the completion of an 82 game regular season, the winners of each division, as well as the next five best teams in each conference, advance to the playoffs.

2009-10

Under the GoobNet Agency for Reintroducing Relegation to Recreational Game Hierarchies’ plan, 2009-10 is the last season of a single league NBA. At the end of the season, the fourteen teams that do not make the playoffs drop to the NBA Second League. The 2010 NBA Draft involves all 30 NBA teams, with the same format as is presently in use.

2010-1

In the 2010-1 season, the Eastern and Western Conferences are eliminated. The NBA First League is divided into North, South, East, and West divisions, each made up of four teams. The NBA may place teams into these new divisions as it sees fit, taking geographic and sporting considerations into account. Each team plays 82 games: fourteen against each divisional opponent, four against each team in one other division, and three against each team in the other two divisions. The pairs of divisions that play four games rotate from year to year.

At the end of the season, the four division winners, plus four wild cards, advance to the NBA First League playoffs. These are played in the same format as the current playoffs within a single conference, with the exception that the four division winners always receive the top four seeds. Each division winner faces a wild card in the first round in a seven game series. The winner of the 1-8 series plays the winner of the 4-5 series in the semifinals, and the winner of the 2-7 series plays the winner of the 3-6 series. The winners of these semifinal serieses meet in the NBA Finals.

The NBA Second League is made up of fourteen teams divided into East and West divisions. Each team plays 82 games: ten against each divisional opponent, four against the team in the other division that finished in the same position in the previous season, and three against each other team in the other division.

There are no championship playoffs in the NBA Second League. Instead, the winners of each NBA Second League division, plus two wild cards, advance to promotion playoff serieses and are seeded by their regular season records. The four opponents from the NBA First League are the four teams that finished last in their respective divisions. If one of the last placed teams qualifies for the NBA First League playoffs as a wild card, that team is exempt from the relegation playoffs and is replaced by an antiwild card, who automatically receives the highest seed.

The serieses are played between the highest seeded NBA First League team and the lowest seeded NBA Second League team, between the second highest seeded NBA First League team and the second lowest seeded NBA Second League team, and so on. The winner of each best of seven series plays the following season in the NBA First League, and the loser plays in the NBA Second League. These serieses are played concurrently with the first round of the NBA First League playoffs.

2011-2 AND BEYOND

As teams are promoted and relegated between the leagues, the NBA moves teams between divisions as necessary, taking geographic and sporting considerations into account.

Starting with the 2011 NBA Draft, the order of the first three selections are randomly selected from the NBA Second League teams that did not reach the promotion playoffs, all with the same probability of winning. This is adapted from Bill Simmons’s solution to the NBA’s Tankapalooza crisis of 2007. Teams that did not reach the promotion playoffs and lose this lottery receive the fourth through tenth selections, starting with the team with the worst regular season record. The eleventh through fourteenth picks go to the losers of the NBA Second League promotion playoffs, and the fifteenth through eighteenth picks go to the winners. The next four picks go to the NBA First League teams that did not reach either the relegation or championship playoffs. The 23rd through 26th picks go to the teams eliminated in the first round, the 27th and 28th to the teams eliminated in the semifinals, the 29th to the losing finalist, and the 30th to the NBA First League champion.

Should the NBA desire to add expansion teams, the new teams must join the NBA Second League. If the NBA Second League expands to sixteen or more teams, the NBA may rearrange it into a four division format. In that case, only the division winners would advance to the promotion playoffs.

If the added expansion teams are from different continents, the NBA may allocate a division for overseas teams, or for teams from a particular continent. However, this must not be permitted to interfere with the competitive format in any way. For instance, if four expansion teams in Europe are awarded, they must all begin play in the NBA Second League and must earn their way into the NBA First League, no matter how much David Stern may want a European Division in the NBA First League.

The NBA will not be permitted to attach sponsors’ names to the names of the leagues, or to give them names that do not correspond to their position within the ladder.

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