NEW YORK • National Basketball Association division winners will not be guaranteed a play-off berth under a post-season restructuring plan being considered by the league.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said last week that the league's competition committee is planning to change play-off seeding rules, ranking teams from one to eight in each conference based on records, rather than the current format of guaranteeing the six division winners at least a top-four seed.
On Wednesday, Silver said that a division-winning club, whose record is not among the top eight in their conference, could be left out of the mix.
There has never been an NBA team who won their division and did not have a top-eight conference record, Silver said at the Beyond Sport United conference in New Jersey.
The league's statistical analysts found a "less than 5 per cent chance" that such a scenario could happen, he added.
"Where we are leaning right now is that we would not guarantee a spot for a division, in part because it's so unlikely to happen and (secondly) if it does happen, it would be potentially confusing to fans," Silver said. "(Thirdly), you would be displacing a team that did have a top-eight record."
The league will make a final decision before the beginning of the 2015-16 pre-season.
The NBA drew criticism during the 2015 play-offs as two title contenders, the Los Angeles Clippers (56-26) and San Antonio Spurs (55-27), faced each other in the first round because the Portland Trail Blazers (51-31) were given a No. 4 seed by virtue of their Northwest Division title.
Meanwhile, the Orlando Magic will return to London to play a regular-season game against the Toronto Raptors in January as part of NBA Global Games 2015-16.
The NBA announced on Wednesday that the game is scheduled at The O2 arena on Jan 14.