HoopsHype Schedule rumors

December 13, 2014 Updates

ESPN hyped up the games with this perfectly executed commercial featuring Santa Claus poking fun at LeBron. “This is very tough… This Christmas I’m going to be taking my talents to the South Pole.” For The Win

December 11, 2014 Updates

The NBA over the last two weeks has informally surveyed team higher-ups about the idea of cutting the preseason schedule by as much as half, according to several sources around the league. The goal is to start the regular season earlier and stretch the full 82-game schedule over about 10 additional days, sources say. That would allow the league to slice off a couple of back-to-backs from each team’s schedule, and in the process limit some of the rest imbalance that is inevitable in juggling hundreds of games across 29 arenas. Grantland

December 2, 2014 Updates

Several teams have informally pitched fixes. In an email exchange last week with Grantland, Mark Cuban conjured up a temporary plan that would shift Chicago, Detroit, Indiana, and Milwaukee to the West, with the three Texas teams and New Orleans moving to the East. Robert Sarver, the Suns owner, says he brought up the idea of abolishing conferences for at least the purposes of playoff seeding at the league’s board of governors meeting in October. The wound of having the 48-win Suns miss the playoffs last season is still fresh, but Sarver vows to keep poking at the issue regardless of his team’s fate going forward. “It needs to be looked at,” Sarver tells Grantland. “I’m getting closer to the point where I just think there needs to be a change. It is on the league’s radar screen now.” Grantland

Representatives from at least one other Western Conference team — the Thunder — have informally suggested a top-16 playoff structure over the last six months, according to several sources. Some pitches have included the wrinkle of re-seeding the playoffs after each round, league sources say. League higher-ups understand the outcry. “We are studying the issue closely,” says Adam Silver, the NBA’s commissioner. Grantland

It’s convenient for Western Conference owners to propose some form of realignment now. The top teams would all but guarantee themselves at least two home playoff games, which can rake in $2 million apiece in gate receipts — and much more in some markets. But Cuban’s plan would only be temporary, subject to revision as the league’s balance of power shifts, he says. “A shakeup will create interest,” Cuban says. “And after five years, you can learn and adjust from there.” The imbalance is so severe right now that even an imperfect stopgap measure would be better than granting the East eight playoff teams just because that is what tradition says the NBA must do. Plucking the 16 best teams by overall record, even with the league’s current imbalanced schedule, would do a better job of rewarding teams that most deserve playoff shine. Grantland

That’s obviously not happening anytime soon. Gate receipts are soaring in some markets, and neither players nor owners are eager to give those up. The Knicks approached a record $145 million in net gate receipts last season, nearly $3.5 million per game, and the Lakers pushed $90 million, per several league sources. A bunch of smaller-market teams don’t even sniff $1 million in gate per home game, but that scarcity makes every game feel precious. The NBA’s mammoth new national TV deal might withstand a schedule slice, since the league could earmark the same number of games for its broadcast partners. But local TV deals are based on teams filling 82 prime-time slots, and several teams are set to negotiate fat new local deals over the next couple of years. Grantland

November 15, 2014 Updates

The Nets haven't seen this many crowns since ... well, never. They're the Nets after all. Prince William and Princess Kate will swing by the Dec. 8 game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center in Brooklyn while they're in town. The British royals will see the NBA's version of royalty: King James. The couple, who will be in the United States from Dec. 7-9, plan to attend the game, according to a news release issued by the British government. It will mark the first visit to New York for the couple, who will visit the Sept. 11 memorial. Newark Star-Ledger

November 13, 2014 Updates

Roberts also would like to keep investigating the prospect of shortening the 82-game season, a desire already expressed by superstars such as LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki. "Every time a player gets hurt, I think, my God, they really are pushing their bodies," she said. "And back-to-backs, those are the ones I really find disturbing. ... So the answer, of course, is that everybody wants a shorter season. The tension is, Will that mean less money? And that's something we need to talk about and think about. ... I don't think it would hurt the game to shorten the season." NBA.com

November 11, 2014 Updates

The Minnesota Timberwolves will make their second attempt to play a regular-season game in Mexico City, after last year's game with the San Antonio Spurs was canceled because of smoke inside Mexico City Arena. The Timberwolves will face the Houston Rockets on Wednesday in the same venue where a short circuit in a generator room sent fumes inside the building during warmups. NBA Mexico director Raul Zarraga says "stricter measures" have been taken to "prevent this from happening again." ESPN.com

November 10, 2014 Updates

"People don't understand that," said Wizards forward Paul Pierce, who was 3 of 15 from the floor. "Everybody looks at it and says, 'Well, they should really handle the Indiana Pacers; they don't have a lot of their stars.' But you have to travel. You get home at 3, 4 o'clock in the morning. You don't get a good night's sleep; the kids wake you up at 6:45. And then you have to go out and perform. Nothing about that is easy." NBA.com

Asking current and former players and coaches which of the two is worse is like asking which method of medieval torture you'd prefer. "Back to backs," Raptors Coach Dwane Casey said. "It's harder on the body." A former NBA coach agreed. "If there were no back to backs, then there could be no four in five," the former coach said. "If they could limit the back to backs to five to seven per season, it would improve the quality of play over the long run." NBA.com

Athletic trainers see the impact of back to backs traveling from West to East. But others believe the longer four-in-five stretch is more debilitating. "Four in five nights," one current general manager said. "Back to backs are tough, but not as bad as four in five. Fatigue is a lot greater at the end of the four in five." The brutal travel every NBA team has, even though every team uses charter service, also weighs on players playing four in five. "You can be in four different cities," former player Mario Elie said. "Different time zones." NBA.com

November 1, 2014 Updates

Adam Silver: “I’ve learned the hard way, not necessarily to trust my gut and look at the data. I think that’s where analytics came in. When we were kids guys took the entire summer off and training camp was the chance to lose a few pounds that you gained over the summer, and truly get back in shape. I don’t think anyone would suggest today that the fact that guys did virtually nothing during the summer was better health wise. Finding that right balance, even if players don’t participate with their national teams during the summer or aren’t actively playing, they’re working out hard. Sometimes what I’ve heard from some trainers is the repetitiveness of some of the things they’re doing on their own instead of playing games isn’t necessarily good for their tendons or muscle. We need more science here, that’s something the league is taking more seriously." Basketball Insiders

October 31, 2014 Updates

But Young has stayed away from the NBA. He says many of the top sports scientists feel that, due to the demanding schedule and management's narrow-mindedness about player fatigue, working in the NBA ends up being little more than a fool's errand. "I haven't heard great things about the NBA as a place for sports scientists to work," Young says. "It's very difficult to get things done. A lot of the sports science guys I know in the league are trying to leave. They find themselves placed in positions where they're glorified stretching coaches." ESPN.com

Making matters worse is the sleep deprivation that comes with traveling overnight. The health risks are real: studies have shown that going 24 hours without sleep has the same impairment effect of a 0.10 blood alcohol level, which is considered to be legally drunk. The same effect is seen after several nights of having as little as four hours of sleep. "With all those games and all that travel, you're constantly recovering," Young says. "Unless you're cycling lineups, which I've never heard of, guys just don't get a chance to recover." ESPN.com

Young suggests the NBA adopt a 60-game schedule that eliminates back-to-backs entirely and cuts down on travel significantly. From Young's perspective, teams should play no more than two or three games a week. "That'd be very light for the NBA," Young says. "The performance dropoff is pretty steep as you play more, and likelihood of injury goes way up. If you are the team that played three games, vs. the team that played two, your likelihood of injury is much higher, and your likelihood of winning is lower." ESPN.com

October 22, 2014 Updates

NBA stars LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki reacted to the league's decision to schedule a 44-minute game saying it's the regular season, not the games, that should be shortened. Is that a widespread opinion among players? We asked 28 NBAers to find out. Result: They are split on the debate with 42.9 percent saying regular season should stay at its usual 82 games and 57.1 suggesting that's too much. HoopsHype

October 21, 2014 Updates

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