Fortunately, the league is coming around. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said last week during the Board of Governors news conference that he expected the league to ultimately reduce the number of preseason games. “I think there’s a general sense right now that in this day and age where players are in condition all year round, are working out hard in the summer, that we don’t necessarily need an eight game preseason moving into the regular season,” Silver said. “There still is a sense that training camp is very important. You have a lot of young players in the league. You have maybe more movement than you had historically. So practice time is still important. There’s a financial component of the preseason as well that we have to look at with the Players’ Association.”
Coaches lament the loss of two-a-days, both as a corrective once the exhibition season begins, and as a carrot: play well, either in a game or in the first workout, and we won’t do a second. The result is much less time for teams to work together in camp, while still having to slog through all those games. Hopefully, that time is coming to an end. “I think the expectation is we’ll be reducing the number of preseason games,” Silver said. “Precisely where the line will be is uncertain.”
Kidd, who was still playing when the 2011 lockout ended, favors four preseason games. Cleveland coach David Blatt agrees. “I’ve expressed myself to the people that make those decisions on more than one occasion,” Blatt said. “My voice is only one, but it’s clearly my opinion that we should play four, maximum five preseason games and create a situation where we could have fewer back-to-backs and give players a little bit more time to rest and a little bit less wear and tear during the preseason.”
Well, there is to the organizations and the league. New rules can be tested, game-night operations ironed out, and of course, money can be made. “I like the number of games. I love giving young players a chance to play. And off the court it lets us get our entertainment and presentation put together,” Dallas owner Mark Cuban said. “It’s also the best and really only way to introduce NBA teams around the world.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder will return to Wichita, Kan. and Tulsa, Okla. during the 2014 preseason, the team announced today. The Thunder will host the Toronto Raptors at the INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita on Friday, Oct. 17 at 7:00 pm followed by a contest versus the Minnesota Timberwolves at the BOK Center in Tulsa on Sunday, Oct. 19 at 6:00 pm.