Adam Silver: BOG Summer Meetings Indicate Playoff Seeding Change Likely


On Wednesday night NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the media on regarding meetings that had occurred this week in Las Vegas with the Competition Committee and The Board of Governors.  Some of the top line areas discussed were:

Playoff Seeding:

The most interesting of all topics is both committees discussed reformatting playoff seeding of the top 8 teams to reflect Conference rank as opposed to Divisional preference. This is the recommendation being put forth.  In other words the top 8 teams would be seeded based on records. This would eliminate Divisional winners automatically be seeded in the top four positions. Though it was not voted on it is anticipated it will be passed prior to season start and implemented next season.

Countdown Clock:

This past season a countdown clock was utilized to count down the beginning of games and half time to create consistency across the league. The goal is to add this to the quarter breaks as well as time-outs next season. Silver advised there was as much as a minute discrepancy across markets and the count down clock would create consistency across the league.

Changes in the Escape Lane:

This is the scenario best known as the “LeBron Rule” following his crash into photographer alley which lead to him requiring stitches in the playoffs. This occurrence (and possibly what occurred with Paul George) has added focus to this area of the court and led to expediting a resolution.  The recommendation is to widen the “escape lanes” by an additional foot at the stanchions on both sides. This was discussed with at the Competition Committee and the Owners Meeting and although there is no confirmation yet, expect this to be changed in the near future.

Question & Answer:

A question and answer period followed these comments by Silver with the following highlights:

Re: Moving Bucks to Vegas?

Q: Silver was asked about a report if the vote was not positive for the Bucks new arena is it feasible the team could be moved to the Las Vegas market.

A: He responded the hope was the Bucks arenas would be approved and the team would remain in Milwaukee and added he doesn’t anticipate relocation of the team given the team’s rich history and long term affiliation in the league.

DeAndre Jordan Situation/Moratorium:

Q: Based on what occurred with DeAndre Jordan did that precipitate discussion around shortening the Moratorium?

A: While the situation was discussed in terms of shortening it, Silver advised there is no perfect situation to resolve it, and although what occurred with Jordan was not ideal it also was not illegal. The Jordan situation gave the moratorium situation more focus, the problem is no one has a perfect solution and it would have to be dealt with through the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Hack A Shack:

Q: Was the situation with the “hack-a-Shaq discussed and are their plans to address it?

A: The situation was discussed however it was agreed the rule will remain status quo (i.e. the rule only changes in the final 2 minutes). The Board of Governors/Competition Committee both felt to change it would be counter intuitive, partially because there was no discernible damage occurring to the product i.e. viewers weren’t tuning out. Moreover the Board felt changing the rule would send a poor message to youth basketball that fundamentals (learning to shoot free throws) weren’t important, which they are.  Silver further advised 75% of the occurrences were with 2 players (DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard). Silver added they’ll continue to monitor the situation and readdress it if it becomes a graver issue.

Q: With contracts going up due to TV advertising dollars soon to arrive Silver was asked if fans would see an increase in their ticket costs.

A: Silver didn’t feel that was a given since the money will be split approximately 50% between owners and players and though their are inherent costs to upgrades specifically on things like practice facilities and arenas he didn’t envision costs increasing disproportionate with the regular increases.

Q: Possibility of team ever being in Las Vegas

A: Silver replied there is no plan to expand currently.

Q: Is there an issue with player tampering (i.e. player recruitment).

A: Of note this is about as close to someone asking about collusion. Silver chose to spin this as a positive and gave a very politically correct answer. (Good media training) In other words he spun the question to reflect a completely different point by stating he feels good management and players being involved in recruitment was a positive. He went on to discuss how social media has made all markets viable and therefore don’t limit a player being universally accepted no matter the size of the market.

Silver further expanded on this point saying there is no way to track discussion between players and he sees it as part of the team recruitment process which leads to a healthy league and parity given even small markets can compete with the current status with social media making all markets commercially viable. (Nice way to throw in a point that had nothing to do with the question Mr. Silver)

Q: How Many Teams Are Still Losing Money?

A: Again Silver skirted giving a direct answer, stating he didn’t have a definitive number (read: he knows, but he’s not going to share that info). He did say some teams are still losing money which is due to expenses such as arena upgrades, building practice facilities, marketing and operation costs etc, and that in some cases those costs are greater than revenues. He further added certain teams have larger television deals which offset those costs and lower overhead.  He went on to say teams like the Lakers who have lucrative television deals pay money back into helping teams from smaller markets and that it was his wish all 30 teams would reach a point of all being profitable and healthy.

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