It appears that talk about changes to create a shorter NBA season is more serious than previously thought. According to the latest basketball chatter, the league and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) are discussing changes to the number of games that are played during the year, but, when dissected, the plan wouldn’t actually cut the number of times players step onto the court. About the only thing that would happen is more high-profile games that could lead to more sports wagers.
What NBA Changes Are Being Discussed?
This past Saturday, the NBA and the NBPA got together, according to an anonymous source’s recount to the Associated Press, and came up with a nice, round number of games that teams could play without risking players’ health – at least in theory. Instead of the 82 games that make up the season now, and which also has teams running from coast to coast to keep up, the NBA league changes would cut the number of games to just 78. If you do the math, that’s only four less than the number currently seen.
That’s not all, though. Over concerns of the possible revenue losses that would be incurred by the reduction, the NBA is considering adding a twist to the season. There could be a new midyear tournament brought in for all 30 teams as a means to recuperate lost money. If that were to happen, the league would like to see it put into play by the 2021-22 season.
A tournament implies that there would be one winner standing. Doing the math once again, it quickly becomes apparent that there’s no way to divide the brackets evenly among 30 teams without forcing them to play at least four games, and there’s still an odd number that has to be rectified. This completely negates the reduction in number of regular season games from 82 to 78 and doesn’t seem to solve any of the issues the shorter season is meant to address.
There is also some talk of switching around the playoff seeding, but not much has been made public about how that would work other than to say that there could be NBA Finals tournaments between teams in the same conference. Perhaps in this lies the missing puzzle piece to how these changes are good for the players.
The NBA’s commissioner, Adam Silver, is apparently taking a page out of the European soccer playbook. It’s common to see several tournaments in any given soccer season and Silver thinks the same changes can happen in the NBA, which is continuously trying to garner worldwide support. He’s thought about this for several years and said earlier this year, “It would need to be negotiated with the Players Association. I’ve had very general discussions with (union executive director) Michele Roberts about the notion that these are the kinds of things we’re looking at. I think she, of course, is supportive of looking at any ideas we have to build the business over time.”
The only thing solved by switching around the season using these proposals is more sports gambling revenue, which sportsbooks certainly wouldn’t mind. The mid-season tournament would see a lot of action and potentially a lot of huge bets than what is seen on single games. However, if the goal of the changes is to give the players a break, the league’s shooting bricks.
NBA fans will have to wait until April to see what changes happen next. That’s when the proposal is expected to be put before the league’s Board of Governors for further discussion and a possible vote. According to ESPN, it will be involved in the discussions, as well, as will Turner Sports.