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March 20, 2015 Updates

Silver, who was in Houston on Thursday for the Rockets’ championship team reunion and celebration, said uncertainty about the impact of the dramatic increase in the salary cap from $63 million to an estimated $90 million in the summer of 2016 would make it difficult to change the lottery system. “A new wrinkle is the fact that we’re not going to have smoothing and so this is a new issue for the league office and the teams,” Silver said in his first comment about the relationship of the union decision and the draft lottery revisions. “There’s clearly a consensus that we need to change and make an adjustment to existing draft lottery- the majority of teams voted for that last board meeting. It just requires a super majority. Houston Chronicle

March 17, 2015 Updates

Naturally, there is a concern that this dreamy idea would only lead to nightmare scenarios: Miami against Portland in the first round, perhaps, with Golden State in the second round. It would create a difficult travel schedule, especially in 2-2-1-1-1 seven-game series formats. Travel is much easier and luxurious for teams with chartered flights, but Silver is "focused on the parade of horribles you keep hearing." "We have to look at that as well and see statistically — what's the likelihood of that happening," Silver said. "But it's a balance. There will be no perfect solution here." That cross-country travel is a concern. Not only during the playoffs but during the regular season. Silver said any discussion of a difference playoff system would include discussion of a more balanced schedule were teams "roughly played each other the same amount of times." USA Today Sports

March 16, 2015 Updates

However, not once during Silver's whirlwind tour — that also included a luncheon at the local rotary club — did the topic of a potential NBA work stoppage in 2017 arise in conversation. "Believe it or not — I can't speak for the union or anything — but it's not something I'm talking to teams about yet," Silver said. "I think it's premature." Recently, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) made the expected decision to reject the league's proposal to smooth out the rising salary cap. The NBA's new media rights deals, worth more than $2.6 billion per year, are expected to take form in the 2016-17 season as well as increase the salary cap. By "smoothing," the league intended to avoid a dramatic spike in the cap in 2016-17 and progressively spread the money over the first few years of the new TV deal. Indianapolis Star

Additionally, Silver, who recently completed his first year as commissioner, stated his next focus will be finding ways to improve the health and welfare of players, specifically mentioning the need to examine scheduling of back-to-back games and four games in five nights. However, Silver does not envision a change in the 82-game schedule. "I'm not looking to reduce the length of the season," Silver said. "It's no secret, it's an economic issue for the league and the players if we were to cut the number of games in a season and I don't think that's the issue. Frankly, as I travel, people only want more NBA, not less NBA. We're going to look at everything but to me, in the first instance, we've got to look at how we can do a better job scheduling within the existing number of dates," Silver continued. "Then beyond that, should we be starting a little bit earlier? Can we go a little bit later? Those are also the kinds of things we can look at to try to stretch the season out a little bit." Indianapolis Star

March 13, 2015 Updates

The inability of the NBA and NBPA to agree on a strategy for incorporating TV money follows other signs of a fraying relationship between league and NBPA leaders. Roberts, for instance, has complained about players being artificially “deflated” by restrictions on salaries while various players have taken critical notice of the Los Angeles Clippers selling for $2 billion and the Atlanta Hawks likely to sell for over $800 million. The rise of Paul and James as NBPA leaders also invites concern that they will prioritize the financial interests of superstars over other players. The NBA, meanwhile, has independently-audited financial records to show a number of teams are losing money. Moreover, the league’s sound business strategy on television and international growth—not to mention NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s adroit handling of the Donald Sterling crisis—appear to have benefited players as much as owners. Despite these achievements, tensions between the NBA and NBPA seem to be rising. Sports Illustrated

March 11, 2015 Updates

Arn Tellem With the business booming by all accounts, why would the NBA continue to ignore its own development league? It’s not like the league lacks innovative leadership right now. Commissioner Adam Silver and Players Association executive director Michele Roberts have proven to be progressive thinkers who are open to new ideas. They know the world of college sports has been upended by litigation — not just Ed O’Bannon’s antitrust suit against the NCAA, but the Northwestern University athlete unionization case as well. If the amateur landscape is being reshaped, then why wait to follow the NCAA’s lead? The NBA should act preemptively in what, down the line, will be in its own best interests. The NCAA would then be obliged to adapt some of its more draconian rules to the 21st-century game, making the system more balanced and player-friendly. At the moment, the NBA is abetting the NCAA. It should be the other way around. Grantland

From a player agent’s perspective, Europe offers a bigger immediate payoff. Normally, agents don’t take commissions on D-League contracts and charge second-rounders 2 percent. In the European leagues, the standard 10 percent cut is generally split between the American and European agents. But the best agents help their clients get better in the hope that the improvement will result in a long-term NBA career. If your client is rewarded, you will be, too. To be one of the 60 annual draftees should be an honor, not a burden. Yet it can be downright traumatic for a prospect to get selected late in the final round and then realize his new “team” has no intention of giving him a guarantee (and that he likely must play professionally out of the country). It’s in both the player’s and the league’s interests for him to mature on his own home turf. Grantland

So what would be the biggest benefit from my proposal? In my opinion, cap management should be independent of player development. Let’s say an NBA team could spend up to $2 million a year on D-League player pay (not counting the salaries of first-rounders); if that number didn’t count against the actual cap, the team would be more likely to take chances with development. Right now, the 18 current D-League franchises are said to be worth around $5 million each. If the NBA created 12 more teams, each parent franchise could have its own affiliate. Grantland

March 10, 2015 Updates

Tribune: You have proposed a harder salary cap. Why is that necessary? Silver: We proposed it during the last CBA round because we think it creates more parity around the league. No doubt, there’s a correlation between payroll and success on the floor. For us, the ultimate goal is to have a 30-team league in which teams win championships based on management and not on the the size of their market or the owner’s willingness to lose money in order to win. We look at the NFL system with a hard cap; they have the best parity in all sports, and an “Any Given Sunday” notion. Granted, we’re a very different sport, because a superstar player who plays virtually the entire game can have a far greater impact on a game than in the NFL. But with a harder cap, we can create more parity throughout the league. We’ve done that to an extent with provisions put into place in the new CBA, with a higher luxury tax and additional limitations on which players you can sign. Portland Tribune

Tribune: The Western Conference has been stronger than the East for many years, and you have talked about the possibility of eliminating divisions or conference affiliation when seeding for playoffs. How would that work? Silver: It’s something we’re in the early stages of looking at. There are teams, fans, media on both sides of the issues. There’s an acknowledgement by everyone that there is no perfect solution. Frankly, it’s not just a playoff issue, it’s also a health issue for the players. What happens when Portland plays Miami in the first round? If you seed teams from one to 16 based on record, we would no longer play an unbalanced schedule. It would require a wholesale change in the schedule, which potentially would require more travel. That works against trying to provide maximum rest for our players over a long season. It’s a complex issue. I’m open-minded at taking a fresh look at it. We’re beginning that process now. If there were an obvious solution, David would have implemented it years ago. Portland Tribune

Tribune: The schedule was changed this year to provide a longer break around All-Star weekend in deference to players’ health. You have talked about lengthening the schedule to cut down on back-to-back games or four games in five nights. Are those things feasible? Silver: If we were to reduce the number of preseason games, it would make sense to start the season a little earlier and potentially go a little bit later with the regular season. Some owners have asked us to look into moving back the Finals and playing into July. That’s something we need to talk about with our TV partners. I’m not sure it makes sense, but we’re willing to look at it. (The longer All-Star break) allows us to make a dramatic impact on the number of times teams must play four games in five nights. We’re going to take a closer look at the distance teams are traveling to get to games, how far they’re flying, how many time zones they’re crossing and so on. Portland Tribune

Tribune: You support the idea of sports betting on the NBA. Are you at all concerned that criminal elements could lead to point shaving or throwing games or things of that nature? Silver: I’m always concerned about that. Making it legal with transparency and making it a regulated industry will decrease the likelihood of a scandal involving betting on our games, and allow us and the government to monitor betting as it’s done in Las Vegas in a way we can’t right now, when it’s almost exclusively underground. Portland Tribune

Tribune: Is there an inevitability of having ads on jerseys? When will it happen? Silver: During the slam dunk competition on Saturday night of All-Star Weekend, all the contestants were wearing a Sprite logo on their jersey. It was fascinating to me it got almost no attention. That goes to show that, while I understand what the notion of NASCAR-like uniform conjures in fans, there is a tasteful way to have relatively small branding added to the jerseys that would provide additional value to our sponsors and the league. Portland Tribune

March 5, 2015 Updates

The notion of lengthening the NBA season to reduce the number of back-to-back games and the occasional four games-in-five nights scenarios was mulled by commissioner Adam Silver during his All-Star Weekend news conference. Included in the discussion: a pledge to consider all possibilities, even playing into July. The Spurs coach wants none of it. “I think the season is long enough,” Popovich said before the Spurs played the Kings on Wednesday at the AT&T Center. “I will not come to work in July. If there’s a game in July, count me out?” San Antonio Express-News

“Nobody knows where (injuries) come from,” Popovich said. “Everybody makes their choices in the offseason. It’s hard for people not to play for their country, whether foreign or domestic. It’s tough (not) to do because it’s quite an honor. Secondly, most of those guys would be playing anyway, in some gym some place, working out. Better to be under the guidance of something that’s organized.” San Antonio Express-News

March 2, 2015 Updates

Some believe delaying the Nets sale is Silver’s goal. The Atlanta Hawks also are for sale, with bids said to be around $900 million, and the NBA may not want prospective buyers to be split between the teams. China’s Fosun is also in the bidding for the Hawks, sources said. New York Post

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