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Shorter season? Shorter games? Silver ponders NBA format

Posted: 8:01 PM, Apr 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-13 00:01:58Z
Adam Silver

NEW YORK (AP) — Commissioner Adam Silver mentioned shorter games or a shorter season as ways the NBA could make its future product better for players and fans.

Silver again talked Friday about the possibility of altering the 82-game schedule, either as a way to cut down on players sitting out games, or to introduce new types of competition.

“I think a fair point from fans could be if ultimately the science suggests that 82 games is too many games for these players, maybe you shouldn’t have an 82-game season,” Silver said. “I accept that, and that’s something we’ll continue to look at.”

He said the addition of midseason or end-of-season tournaments could be one option, as could trimming games from 48 minutes to 40, which is the length of college and international games.

Silver has focused on player health as commissioner, opening the regular season earlier to reduce the frequency of back-to-back games, and lengthening the All-Star break.

But players are still sitting out games throughout the season, often for reasons being listed as load management.

Even if 82 games remains the format, Silver is intrigued by ways the scheduled can be arranged. He has pointed to European soccer, which has tournaments along with its league games during the season, as something that could bring new interest to the NBA by offering teams more opportunities to win something, instead of just having one champion.

“That’s why I’m particularly interested in looking at different kinds of formats — at midseason tournaments, for example, play-in tournaments — because even accepting that players have so many miles on their bodies, there may be better ways to present it,” Silver said. “Assuming guys are going to play 82 games, maybe there should be a certain number of games in the regular season and then there should be two tournaments throughout the season.”

He cautioned that none of the changes he discussed Friday after the league’s Board of Governors meetings were close to being implemented, and would continue to be studied within the league.