Report: NBA exploring moving up Finals start date

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Game 1 of the NBA Finals is scheduled for June 4.

Up 3-0, the Warriors could end their series with the Rockets tonight. The Cavaliers could follow suit against the Hawks tomorrow.

That’d leave eight days with no playoff games, obviously a less-than-ideal situation for the NBA. Can the league avoid that?

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

The NBA is exploring the possibility of moving up the start of the NBA Finals to June 2 if both conference finals series end in sweeps, league sources told CBSSports.com Sunday.

It’s complicated and unlikely, sources say, based on television commitments, hotel capacities, international media travel and other considerations. One person familiar with the discussions described them as being in the “very early exploration” stage.

One obvious potential issue would be arena conflicts, but there are no scheduled events at either Oracle Arena or Quicken Loans Arena that would make changing the start date of the Finals problematic from a building perspective.

I think it’s highly unlikely the Finals start date changes for all the reason’s Berger’s sources listed, and I’ll add two more:

1. American travel. Obviously, it’s more difficult for international people to change plans, but Americans have also been planning on a June 4 Game 1.

2. Odds are against both series being sweeps. In the 116 previous times a team went up 3-0 in a best-of-seven series, 69 ended in sweeps. If that represents the true odds and both conference-finals are typical 3-0 situations – I don’t see why they’re not – there’s a 35 percent chance of dual sweeps. Obviously, that’s not an extreme longshot, but it’s unlikely.

It’s probably too late to avoid a long layoff this year, but if it’s even plausible to explore changing the Finals start date now, why set it before the playoffs? Maybe in future seasons, the NBA will leave it open-ended and determine an appropriate start date as the conference finals unfold.