Adam Silver discusses NBA future, says room to improve
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver admittedly wanted to “keep an open mind” during his first year on the job, but now he recognizes it is “time to take action” in Year Two.
“My focus is on the game,” Silver said at a press conference Saturday before the NBA All-Star skills competitions at Barclays Center. “It’s a fantastic game, a great game, but there are aspects I believe we can improve.”
Silver, who took over the top post from David Stern shortly before the All-Star Game last season in New Orleans, sat down for a wide-ranging interview with NBA columnist Frank Isola of the Daily News earlier in the week. The conversation featured his rationale for not disciplining Knicks owner James Dolan for a heated email response to a longtime fan.
The commissioner wasn’t asked about Dolan Saturday but covered many of the same topics, including the possibility of shortening the preseason to help eliminate various scheduling issues — such as teams playing four games in five nights.
“Scheduling has been a discussion long before I was involved in the league office, and that is about the wear and the tear of the players over a long season,” Silver said.
“We are hoping to address, even for next season, to come close as we can to eliminate four games in five nights. . . . We think we can make a dramatic reduction there.”
While Silver doesn’t believe the league’s draft lottery system is “broken,” he also acknowledged “it’s going to require a tweak” to eliminate the perception that teams are intentionally losing games to maximize their draft position.
“I personally believe we do need to make some changes in the draft lottery,” Silver said, without divulging specifics. “We want to ensure that our fans know that our teams do not have an incentive to lose games . . . and that our teams are always undergoing a process to try to field the best possible team on the floor.”
Silver also reiterated that the league will “take a very hard look” at eventually altering its playoff format — possibly having the top 16 teams in the league qualify.
The NBA also wants to continue discussing the league’s desire to raise the minimum age of its players from 19 to 20, a notion new Players Association head Michele Roberts stressed Friday night the union would adamantly oppose.
“Be happy with one and done. It’s not going to be two and done,” Roberts told Bleacher Report, referring to players entering the NBA after one year of college eligibility.
“We had proposed 20 the last round of collective bargaining and it remained at 19,” Silver said. “I’ve been very clear. . . . I think it would be much better for the game if the minimum age were 20.”
LeBron James said earlier Saturday that he accepted the position of vice president of the union largely because of the league’s new television contract and its role in the looming collective bargaining negotiations. Either the players or the owners can opt out of the current CBA after the 2016-17 campaign, the first year of the TV deal, which will pay almost $ 2.7 billion per year.
“It’s going to be a very important negotiation, and I think I’m a big part of the process. We look forward to doing some good things,” James said.
Fellow All-Star Chris Paul of the Clippers, the union president, said “it means a lot” to have a star of James’ stature joining him.
“LeBron is the face of our league and his opinion matters,” Paul said. “We talk all day, every day. It’s just an opportunity for other people to see how he feels about things and shows the importance of it really being our league.”
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