The NBA regular season is too damn long! That’s why players sit out games and upset fans and columnists. The good news is that it sounds like the NBA is seriously considering dropping some games. Commissioner Adam Silver spoke with USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick and had this to say about international play. Via USAT:
“We can play games in China and Europe, or occasional preseason games as a one-off, but under existing airline technology, the planes aren’t fast enough to at least play in the current frame work of our regular season,” Silver, who did not attend Thursday’s game but plans on attending the Warriors-Wolves preseason game in Shanghai on Sunday, said by phone. “(But) it may be something we’ll be looking at over the coming years, is what a regular season schedule look like a decade from now.”
That’s why the NBA is so great. Not only are they thinking about how schedules will look a decade from now, they are impatiently awaiting the extreme advancement of airline technology. Now for the really interesting part.
“There’s nothing magical about 82 games,” Silver continued. “It’s been in place for 50 years, but for the long-term planning of the league, as we learn more about the human body and the wear and tear of travel and the competitive landscape … invariably we’ll look at the regular season. And in looking at the regular season, it may create more opportunities for international franchises.”
OK, so this is actually why the NBA is so great. That is an honest assessment of the schedule. They play 82 games because that’s how things have been done forever, but maybe that’s not the best option. Maybe it is too much for the athletes’ bodies. How much longer could these guys last at their peak if they were playing fewer games with more rest?
It sounds like the league has been thinking about this – the same way they revealed they had been thinking about changing the draft lottery and the age limit. Sometimes there is no perfect fix, but they’re willing to try things.
Before the NBA can eliminate any games, they have some things to sort out. How would it affect the salary cap? Could you convince players that a cap freeze would be the same as a raise since they are playing fewer games? What about cities losing however many home games a year? People who work at the arenas would lose paychecks. And plenty of other stuff I would never think of.
Still, it’s good that the NBA is seriously considering this. And it’s refreshing to see an American sports league honestly consider shortening a season because it’s what is best for the players and the product.