The NBA has floated several major schedule-change ideas in recent months, including a midseason tournament, a postseason play-in round and more.
While nothing has been set in stone yet, and the league already announced that it would not hold an official vote at the Board of Governor’s meeting in April, NBA commissioner Adam Silver sounded confident that the changes would get done.
They just have to get it right, first.
“I strongly believe we will end up with some sort of in-season tournament and a play-in tournament, but let's refocus on all the component parts and do something with the intention that those will be changes we'll make going forward,” Silver said Saturday during his annual All-Star Weekend media conference from the United Center in Chicago. “It doesn't mean forever, but it may mean that we could end up changing course at some point if we don't think it's working the way we believe it will, but that seemed to be the consensus.
“So to me, it's less about a vote because the very people who are voting are the people we're working with on precisely what the right format is we should be looking at.”
Among other things, the league has been studying three major schedule change ideas in recent months: an in-season tournament, a postseason play-in round and reseeding conference finalists in the playoffs. The changes would ideally start during the 2021-22 season, which would be the NBA’s 75th anniversary.
Some of those ideas have reportedly gone over better than others. Making the mini-tournament competitive, increased travel time and cost, loss of revenue and more games in a season have all been major points of concern for those involved. According to Silver, however, teams, the player’s association and the NBA’s media partners all expressed “so much interest” in the ideas.
Though any adjustments made to the schedule would undoubtedly provide an entertaining change for fans, Silver said he views the process a bit differently — especially in an era where “load management” has become a growing trend in the league.
“I think it also gives us a chance to look more holistically at the season,” Silver said. “This issue has come up a lot related to load management, appropriate resting of players.
“Is 82 games the right number of games in a season? As I've said before, that's been in place for over 50 years now. The game has changed. We know more about health and physical fitness. Or even if we're playing the same number of games, should they be played over more days to provide for more rest? So those are all things we're looking at.”
And when the changes, if any, do finally go into effect, Silver doesn’t want it to be a one-off thing, either.
“The end result — and I can’t say exactly when it will be — I think is a re-presented regular season in the league,” Silver said.
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