NBA commissioner hints he is open to shorter regular season
Kawhi Leonard is playing at an extremely high level after missing almost the entire 2018-19 season and sitting out more than 20 games this year, and that has raised the question of whether or not he is benefitting from having fresh legs. If playing less during the regular season leads to improved performance in the playoffs, NBA commissioner Adam Silver says he is all for it.
While speaking to The Economic Club on Thursday, Silver was asked about teams practicing “load management” with their star players during the regular season. He referenced how well Leonard has played and hinted that the league could explore the possibility of shortening the regular season.
Silver says, in response to question about players taking games off for "load management": "Maybe in the modern N.B.A, we’ve had an 82 game season for roughly 50 years. And maybe it’s too many games on the player’s bodies." pic.twitter.com/wYR5xNMfxB
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) May 9, 2019
“If legitimate resting of players resulted in them being healthier in the playoffs, healthier longer, able to continue their careers longer, I think we’d be in favor of it,” Silver said. “This last issue is, though, then as a league, we may need to revisit the number of games in a season. Because maybe in the modern NBA, we’ve had an 82-game season for roughly 50 years. And maybe it’s too many games on the players’ bodies.”
When Silver says “legitimate resting of players,” he is probably referring to situations like the one we saw with Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans earlier this season. When Davis told the Pelicans he had no intention of re-signing with them, there was talk that they could bench him to limit his injury risk and protect his trade value. The NBA reportedly stepped in to make sure that didn’t happen.
Shortening the regular season probably would not be a popular idea among NBA team owners, as more games means more revenue. For fans and players, playing less than 82 games would likely be a welcome change.