The National Basketball Association is still holding out hope it may continue its season, such as regular-season games, based on Adam Silver, the league’s commissioner.
Silver, who talked to reporters on a conference call after the NBA’s board of governors discussion last Friday, said the league has not considered canceling the rest of the year, as it seems to salvage some of its lost revenue as a result of coronavirus pandemic.
“Our earnings, in essence, has fallen to zero,” Silver said during the telephone. Silver also hinted at changes to the league program, stating”all rules are off at this stage” while also confirming the NBA would play”substantially later than June” if games do resume.
Doing this would mean pushing back or canceling remaining league events, which would not be too much of a surprise with the stunt pausing all major sports leagues.
The largest events which could change are the NBA Draft Blend, which was initially scheduled for next month in Chicago, and the Summer League in Las Vegas. Asked for updates surrounding the decision on these events, the NBA didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
However, if league owners are seriously considering resuming play without forfeiting matches, pushing back the start of this 2020-2021 regular season is nearly inevitable. And if this happens, how can the league ever go back to its present 82-game format? And would players agree to such a move?
“It could be a learning experience for future seasons in which they decide to play fewer games,” said Neal Pilson, founder of consulting firm Pilson Communications and former president of CBS Sports.
The Christmas idea
The idea stems from an assortment of factors, including players and coaches complaining about a lot of games per week, to lack of practice time, early evaluations being affected, and perhaps among the most crucial issues plaguing the NBA prior to the coronavirus pandemic: load direction and rest.
It is the notion of teams restricting players, particularly those people who are returning from injury to a certain quantity of games played during an 82-game schedule. Coaches use the approach to permit stars more time to recuperate, hoping players will be prepared for the most vital stretch of this year, the playoffs.
The resting difficulty is a profound one for the NBA. In 1990, late commissioner David Stern fined the Los Angeles Lakers $25,000 for resting healthy celebrities. But since 2012, when Stern issued a $250,000 fine to the San Antonio Spurs for resting players before a game against the Miami Heat, the difficulty has accelerated.
The NBA has adjusted its program to accommodate teams, decreasing the number of back-to-back matches, and the number of games weekly. But recently, the league has obtained a picture hit as teams still break players, causing evaluations to endure and fans whining about not getting full value when they expect to see star players compete.
Recognizing the load management and resting method is an issue for its own business and media partners. The NBA now monitors it closely, issuing fines when teams violate resting guidelines.
When talking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin echoed what many NBA GMs have previously mentioned. In essence, the thought of starting games around Christmas is a time more applicable for the NBA, Koonin said.
Koonin, who the Hawks didn’t make available for an interview request, favors the run-and-hide from”King Kong” — the National Football League — strategy, suggesting a later start would help ratings. Tony Ponturo is CEO of Ponturo Management Group and also served as Anheuser-Busch’s vice president of international media sports and entertainment marketing for 17 years. Ponturo agreed with the NBA starting games around Christmas, stating enthusiast activity around the sport generally increases.v