The Raleigh News & Observer's Luke DeCock suggested expanding the playoff format so that an additional eight teams make the playoffs in a lockout-shortened campaign.
DeCock suggested that this would be a one-time-only preliminary round where the 5th through 12th seed teams compete for the final four playoff spots. The idea is that it would give more markets something to be excited about in an effort to undue some of the anticipated damage done by this lockout. The typical counterargument to expanding the playoffs is that it cheapens the regular season, making people less likely to care about games before April. However, given that the 2012-13 camapaign will be severely shortened if it happens at all, each regular season game would still be more important than fans are used to. It also helps that, under this scenario, securing a top seed would lead to getting a bye, which would help give fans reason to pay attention to their teams even if it's clear early on that they'll make the playoffs.