Schedule Rumors

The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday their schedule for Samsung NBA Summer League 2015 in Las Vegas. Twenty-four teams will participate in a tournament-style format to crown this year’s champion. Teams will compete in three preliminary round games from July 10-14, before being seeded in a tournament running through the championship game on July 20. Each team is guaranteed to play at least five games.
Silver said the league consults with medical experts about reducing injuries. Players such as Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh all suffered season-ending injuries this season. “We continue to look at the best medical advice and the most modern science to see how we can cut down on injuries,” Silver said. “One of the ways we can help reduce the number of injuries is to cut down on the [workload] we give the players and that involves stretching the games out a little bit. But I don’t want to make any moves without having a better understanding of [the injuries]. “For example, it may have something to do with the amount of intense basketball that many of these players play at a young age. We need to have a holistic understanding of all aspects of the game.”
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Of course, Silver previously said reducing back-to-back games and including more offdays in the schedule could help. Silver has made this an emphasis since taking over as commissioner in 2014. “I think over time we’d like to push the season back a little bit later,” Silver said. “And push back the start of preseason. I think we could reduce the length of the preseason a little bit. I think we could reduce the number of preseason games we have [from eight]. “We’re in the process of doing it but there are a lot of moving parts so it’s complicated. It’s unlikely it will happen for next season but I’m confident over time we will be able to reduce the number of back-to-back games.”
Silver has a major challenge ahead to avoid sets of consecutive games without beginning the schedule earlier — which would conflict with the major league baseball playoffs — or extend the schedule, which would spill into July and compete with the heart of baseball season and NFL training camps. “From our standpoint in terms of scheduling, something I’ve talked about, we’ve revamped the entire scheduling process this year to try to do everything to clear more windows at our arenas, to clear more broadcast windows,” Silver said. “ESPN and ABC and TNT have been very cooperative in releasing sort of Thursday night and Sunday afternoons, releasing their exclusivities to allow us to schedule other games in those time slots. Those things make a difference. “Of course it’s a concern of ours when players are getting injured. It’s not necessarily worse than it’s been historically. But it’s to the point, especially when you see star players going down and missing serious numbers of games, it’s something we’re very focused on.”
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Silver weighed in on a number of issues, including the increase of serious injuries to players. “There are more high-profile players seemingly that are injured this year than last year. So that always concerns me,” Silver said. “I think it’s something that the league and the teams are spending enormous resources on for best-of-kind medical care, best-of-kind science, to see what we can do to prolong players’ careers and keep them on the floor longer. “One of the things we know we think will make a difference is to reduce the number of back-to-backs and to create more rest for players. I mean, some of that is done by teams in a very sophisticated way, managing minutes. Most people didn’t talk about the fact that in the last collective bargaining agreement, as you know, we added another roster spot on teams. So now it’s a 13-man roster instead of a 12.”
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Whatever the underlying causes and possible solutions, another star going down on the NBA’s biggest stage suggests that the problem of player health has reached critical mass. The only thing we know for sure is that you can’t have a basketball league without basketball players. “Of course it’s a concern when players are getting injured,” Silver said. “It’s not necessarily worse than it’s been historically. But it’s to the point, especially when you see star players going down and missing serious numbers of games, it’s something that we’re focused on.”
This story from earlier this week detailed how the Cavs, Warriors and more than a dozen other NBA teams are using technology to monitor player fatigue, stress levels and other known indicators for injury. There is more research and discussion under way, including the possibility of using a fleet of modern jets with enough fully reclining seats for all players to sleep on flights. “We’ve revamped the entire scheduling process this year to try to do everything to clear more windows at our arenas, to clear more broadcast windows,” Silver said. “… I think the science over time zone travel has gotten much better, where moving four time zones, we think, may have an effect on players’ bodies that we may not have understood historically.”
The National Basketball Association (NBA) will hold its fourth annual NBA Canada Series presented by Bell, featuring a record five teams playing an all-time high four preseason games in Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Winnipeg. The Toronto Raptors will play three games, while the Minnesota Timberwolves will play two games, and the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers and Washington Wizards will each play one game.
The 76ers announced Thursday that they will play a preseason game vs. the Nets on October 10 in Albany, NY, at the Times Union Center. The full preseason schedule won’t be announced until the end of July. The preseason usually begins a week after camp opens, meaning the Philly game would be likely be the second game of a six or eight game schedule. Tickets as low as $22 are available this Saturday, May 30th at the Times Union Center box office, charge by phone at 800-745-3000, select Walmart music centers or online at timesunion.com. For more information, please visit timesunioncenter-albany.com.
Finally, the advertisers bought time based on when they thought the NBA finals would be played (June 4 – June 19 if they go seven games). Moving that schedule up changes things. Demographic studies and a lot of time has been spent on how much advertisers should pay for certain time periods. The advertisers want what they paid for and they specifically paid for time during those two weeks for a reason.
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The NBA announced last week there were too many logistical challenges to moving up the NBA Finals if both conference finals ended earlier than normal. The first reason is that venues have been booked far in advance. Theoretically, if the Finals were moved up, they would end earlier, which means trying to fill those back-end dates. As of now the venues have a rough schedule that will generate the necessary amount of revenue to run the arena. Taking a week off and shutting down an entire venue isn’t very business savvy. This doesn’t even take into account city planning, activations on-site or setting up NBA-centric activities in the NBA Finals cities. The break gives everyone extra time to plan.
If both series end in sweeps, the league, its sponsors and TV partners will be faced with an eight-day gap between the end of the Eastern Conference finals and Game 1 of the Finals. “I think that’s too long,” the Warriors’ Draymond Green said Monday. “Maybe it’ll be good to rejuvenate a little bit, but I think you could rejuvenate with five or six days, as opposed to [eight].” As a result, league officials explored moving up the start of the Finals to June 2 in the event of two sweeps. But network TV commitments, hotel inventory, international travel and other factors made it logistically unfeasible.
Were both series to go seven games, the West would’ve concluded May 31 and the East on June 1, resulting in a two-day turnaround into the Finals. But with the Warriors and Cavs surprisingly dominating their respective series — the Warriors can close out the Rockets Monday night, while the Cavs won the first two games of their series in Atlanta — the league is exploring a contingency plan. It’s complicated and unlikely, sources say, based on television commitments, hotel capacities, international media travel and other considerations. One person familiar with the discussions described them as being in the “very early exploration” stage.