There are plenty of cracks in the NBA’s economic model, and they will likely get deeper in the years to come. As Mark Cuban pointed out when talking about why the conference system should be changed, there’s less incentive for teams in the East to get better because the bar for making the playoffs and winning a series or two is much lower. Stern always said the balance of power between the conferences was cyclical, but the last two generations of players have not been able to change the underlying dynamic, and there’s no guarantee the next one does either. As long as the owners in the East keep making money off their teams, they have no reason to change the way they are run.
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Silver, though, did leave the door open for the possibility of one day rebalancing the two conferences or having a 16-seed tournament. “Ultimately [two years ago] we concluded that given all the focus on sports science, health of our players and impact of travel, it didn’t make sense, at least at this time, to move to a rebalanced schedule because we played an imbalanced schedule,” Silver said at the board of governors news conference Wednesday.
There are some who believe the NBA should eliminate conference affiliation in the postseason and seed playoff teams based on record. Silver believes there are challenges to that concept. “I know that from a fan standpoint, there is real appeal to this notion of seed your teams 1 through 16 going into the playoffs and possibly two Western Conference teams could meet in the Finals or two Eastern Conference teams, and where we ended up was that — again, it relates directly to the resting issue and injury data, is that we would be dramatically increasing travel because if we’re going to seed 1 through 16 we would need to have more of a balanced schedule throughout the year,” Silver said. “That would result in more travel. You could have a Boston-Golden State first-round matchup in the playoffs. It’s something we continue to look at.
The NBA made it official: division winners will no longer be guaranteed a top-four seed in the playoffs. In fact, they won’t be guaranteed playoff spots at all, opening the very real possibility of the Atlantic Division winner missing the postseason. (They should hang a banner anyway). The next obvious move is to eliminate divisions entirely, which could happen as soon as next year.
The next step is to remove conference and/or seed the playoffs 1-16. That’s a tougher nut to crack because it requires a three-fourths majority and those East teams aren’t about to vote away their cakewalk paths to postseason play, but we can now have a real conversation about it. When brainstorming ideas, the league would be smart to consider Tom’s five regions approach.
Bobby Marks: Good first step by NBA, next line of business is to do away with divisions, would not be surprised if that happens for 16-17. Can’t get rid of divisions yet because of how the schedule works, ex: East 16 games vs Div., 24 for Central/Southeast, unbalance schedule. Don’t ever seeing conferences going away until the earliest 2022, Huge consequences on teams that traded away future picks.
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August 23, 2017 | 11:37 am EDT Update
Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has signed guard Julyan Stone. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Stone (6-6, 200) has appeared in 47 career NBA games (two starts) over three seasons with Denver (2011-13) and Toronto (2013-14), averaging 1.3 points, 1.1 assists and 1.0 rebounds in 7.0 minutes per contest. He most recently joins Charlotte after a stint with Reyer Venezia Mestre of the Lega Basket Serie A in Italy, appearing in 26 games and helping the squad to a 2017 Serie A Championship. Prior to his time with Reyer Venezia Mestre, Stone played with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA G League last season, seeing action in 33 games (31 starts), averaging 7.9 points, 8.6 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 34.7 minutes per contest.
But questions remain about Thomas, who was hobbled by a serious hip injury during the most recent playoffs and is still set to undergo tests before training camp to establish his status. What’s more, the fact that he infamously called for the Celtics to “Back up the Brink’s truck” next summer when he’s eligible for a huge payday means Cleveland will have to eventually find clarity on this front. For James’ part, he’s on record as a huge fan of Thomas. “(The Celtics) got a clear-cut star and that’s Isaiah,” James said in late December. “The notion that they don’t have a star I think is ‘fugazi’ as Donnie Brasco would say. Earlier I was watching the movie. So, they’re a good team for a reason and it starts with the head of the snake and that’s Isaiah.”
With the Big3 championship game slated for Saturday in Las Vegas, the league and Fox Sports announced on Wednesday an agreement to extend the 3-on-3 basketball league and its coverage into another season following a successful inaugural campaign. “We think we have something great with the Big3 and are thrilled to add another year to our partnership,” Fox Sports head of business operations David Nathanson said in a statement.
Three months after sliding into the DMs of Croatian model Ines Nikic on Instagram, the 7-foot-3 center made a play for the social media stunner once again, weeks after the brunette bombshell turned 18. “Why does it matters to you that much,” Nikic asked Porzingis about his request for a follow. “Its a matter of life or death,” he replied.