NEW YORK, Nov. 17 –
The NBA Board of Governors has approved a realignment plan that will take effect with the start of the 2004-05 season, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced today.
The NBA's newest member, the Charlotte Bobcats, will tip off its inaugural season as part of the Eastern Conference while the New Orleans Hornets will move from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference. Each conference will now have a total of 15 teams with three divisions of five teams.
Baron Davis and the Hornets will move to the Western Conference.|
The newly approved divisions are:
Atlantic Division: Boston Celtics, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers,
Central Division: Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks
Southeast Division: Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic,
Southwest Division: Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Hornets,
San Antonio Spurs
Northwest Division: Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers,
Seattle SuperSonics, Utah Jazz
Pacific Division: Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings
Under the new plan, teams will play divisional opponents four times each (two home games/two road games), conference opponents outside the division three or four times each and opponents outside the conference two times each (one home game/one road game).
The three regular season divisional winners in each conference will earn a playoff berth and one of the conference's top three playoff seeds based on regular season record. The remaining five playoff berths for each conference will be based on regular season records with no regard to divisional alignment.
Home-court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs will be based solely on regular season record, not playoff seeding, thus a divisional winner that has a higher playoff seed than an opponent will not necessarily have home-court advantage in the playoff series.