Nick Friedell: Adam Silver also notes that the league isn’t tied to an 82 game season in the future. He wants to make sure teams have balance within the schedule and enough time to rest. Sounds like this will be an ongoing discussion between owners and players.
“We’re not looking at expansion at the moment, but at the time we do turn to expansion, just as we’ve had enormous success in Canada with the (Toronto) Raptors, we do see enormous opportunity in Mexico City and think it could become the franchise for Latin America,” Silver said. “Mexico City is a city with over 20 million people, a country of 130 million people, and a huge Mexican American population. We’re only looking at it from a more general standpoint – and we’re playing games (there) again in Dec. (the Brooklyn Nets are playing against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Dec. 7 and the Miami Heat on Dec. 9). It’s something we’ll continue to keep eye on.”
Branson, meanwhile, has partnered with the startup company, Boom, to create planes that cruise at 1,451 miles per hour (New York to London in three hours and 20 minutes, with supersonic flight for passenger planes scheduled for 2023. And as Silver told USA TODAY Sports recently, the dare-to-dream possibilities mean that he’ll remain open to the head-spinning possibilities. “We can play games in China and Europe, or occasional preseason games as a one-off, but under existing airline technology, the planes aren’t fast enough to at least play in the current frame work of our regular season,” Silver, who did not attend Thursday’s game but plans on attending the Warriors-Wolves preseason game in Shanghai on Sunday, said by phone. “(But) it may be something we’ll be looking at over the coming years, is what a regular season schedule look like a decade from now.”
The premise, of course, is that an 82-game schedule would likely be too taxing if there was intercontinental travel added to the schedule. “There’s nothing magical about 82 games,” Silver continued. “It’s been in place for 50 years, but for the long-term planning of the league, as we learn more about the human body and the wear and tear of travel and the competitive landscape … invariably we’ll look at the regular season. And in looking at the regular season, it may create more opportunities for international franchises.”