NBA Roundup: Finals format changes, Cavs exercise options

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

The NBA Finals is returning to a 2-2-1-1-1 format in a change unanimously approved Wednesday by the owners during their meetings in New York.
The league had used a 2-3-2 format for the Finals since 1985 mainly because of travel concerns, but this season the final three games of the championship series, if necessary, will alternate between cities.
Commissioner David Sterm announced the switch at his final Board of Governors meetings before he retires on Feb. 1 after 30 years on the job. He said it was unfair for the team with the better record to be on the road for three games.
Since the 1985 season, the team with the home-court advantage at the start of the NBA Finals is 21-8.
The first three rounds of the playoffs will not change from the 2-2-1-1-1 format currently in place.
Meanwhile, NBA general managers picked the Miami Heat to win their third consecutive championship this season.
The Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs tied for second behind the Heat as the team most likely to take the title in a poll conducted by
Heat star LeBron James was selected to claim his second league MVP award in a row and his fifth overall. If he fulfills that prediction, James would tie with Michael Jordan and Bill Russell, one behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's six.
One change from last year's preseason voting is Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers not being named as the top shooting guard in the league for the first time in 12 years. The GMs went with Houston's James Harden.
Their pick for rookie of the year is Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo, a first-round pick from Indiana.

---Brendan Malone has resigned as an assistant coach on his son's staff with the Sacramento Kings.
Mike Malone, starting his first year as the Kings' head coach, hired his father in late June after he accepted the position. Chris Jent will take over as the lead assistant.
Malone joined his son after five seasons with the Orlando Magic working for coach Stan Van Gundy. He also was the first coach of the Toronto Raptors and head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers for 18 games, and he served as an assistant with the Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers.
The younger Malone was the lead assistant with the Golden State Warriors before accepting the Kings' job. He replaced Keith Smart, who was let go after less than two seasons on the job in Sacramento.
The Malones join Eric and Bill Musselman as the only father-son duos to hold head-coaching jobs in the NBA.

---Cleveland Cavaliers fans won't have to worry about guard Kyrie Irving, forward Tristan Thompson, guard Dion Waiters and center Tyler Zeller players from going anywhere else any time soon.
The team announced Wednesday that it has exercised fourth-year options on Irving and Thompson, as well as third-year options on guard Dion Waiters and center Tyler Zeller.
Irving was the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft. Since then, he's averaged 20.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.3 steals in 32.8 minutes through 110 career games with the Cavaliers.
By the team exercising its option, Irving, a 2013 All-Star choice, will be locked up contractually through at least the 2014-15 season.
Thompson was selected No. 4 in the first round of the 2011 draft and owns career averages of 10.2 points and 8.2 rebounds in 28.1 minutes through 142 (107 starts) games played.
He set a franchise record for most offensive rebounds in a single-season with 306, which ranked second in the NBA, surpassing Zydrunas Ilgauskas' 299 during the 2004-05 season.
Waiters was the Cavs' fourth pick in the 2012 draft and appeared in 61 games last season as a rookie, averaging 14.7 points on .412 shooting, 2.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steal in 28.8 minutes. He was also named to the NBA's All-Rookie First Team.
Zeller was a first round pick (17th overall) in the 2012 draft by the Dallas Mavericks, but was acquired shortly thereafter on the same day by the Cavaliers in a trade.
In 77 games last season, Zeller averaged 7.9 points on .438 shooting and 5.7 rebounds in 28.0 minutes. He was named to the NBA's All-Rookie Second Team.

What to Read Next