Mark Cuban believes the NBA can still salvage its 2019-…

Mark Cuban believes the NBA can still salvage its 2019-20 season, despite it being suspended for two months and counting amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Dallas Mavericks owner pointed to Dec. 25 as the start date for next season and then said you just have to work backward for a potential timeline to resume this season. Most teams, Cuban said, would not be playing an extended schedule as there’s a limited number of teams that would advance through the playoffs.

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Simply put, Cuban just wants the sport to return in some fashion. He believes the level of play will be just as good, if not better, than what NBA fans saw coming out of the 2011 lockout. “Anything we show is going to be better than what we have right now,” Cuban said. “It’ll be good enough, right? We just want our sports. We just want to root for the Mavs, the Cowboys, the Stars, the Rangers, etc. If it’s not perfect, I don’t think anybody is going to mind.”
Chris Haynes: Yahoo Sources: Adam Silver acknowledged there would be a “series of bad options” to decide on pertaining to teams on bubble of making playoffs. He couldn’t guarantee those teams would have a chance to earn a playoff berth if hiatus extends too far out.
Charania: The NBA regular season is approximately 80 percent complete, depending upon where each team is in its schedule. From what I’m told, the league was in line to generate nearly $9 billion in basketball-related income, and owners and team presidents estimate that canceling the rest of the season would result in $1-to-2 billion in losses. The NBA and its players agreed to reduce paychecks by 25 percent starting May 15, essentially serving as a reserve for if and when play resumes, and players can receive that amount back.
As ownership support grows for the idea, Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA Board of Governors continued discussions Friday about delaying the start of the 2020-2021 season until December, sources told ESPN. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA's thinking and planning has progressed on the idea independent of whether the 2019-2020 season is resumed and completed, sources said.
As the uncertainty around the pandemic continues, the NBA is anticipating a number of potential obstacles in immediately returning fans to its arenas in the coming months and year. "If you start in December, that doesn't mean the people are coming back in December, but maybe they're back by March," one member of the board of governors told ESPN on Friday.
There's support for a 2020-2021 season that would start in December and extend through late July or August, sources said. Silver has been preparing teams for the possibility of a delayed start to next season, which would potentially address the league's longer-range concerns, whether this season is completed or not.
Silver has repeatedly told teams he remains determined for the season to culminate with a champion. Between now and then, if the league office had any doubts that decision-making would become painstaking and polarizing during these times, this past weekend reminded them of the scrutiny that awaits every decision. The process of simply reopening practice facilities for players to do brief, individual workouts turned into something of a back-and-forth between league and front-office executives.
For now, the NBA is still sorting out possible venues. The MGM Grand has been one of several suitors pitching a plan to host the league -- and perhaps the WNBA, too -- within three adjacent hotels, sources said. Some are proposing pod ideas spread across different regions. Team practice facilities have been discussed. The possibility of Disney World in Orlando, where there are basketball facilities and hotels, has gained momentum.
For a time, Las Vegas was the most popular idea for a proposed resumption of the NBA season: a bubble city of teams grinding out the playoffs within a quarantine of connected casino hotels and arenas. As time has passed, those talking with NBA commissioner Adam Silver find him still needing to be convinced Vegas is the best idea. For some of the league's most influential veteran star players, that's a reassuring notion because they're concerned about some younger teammates struggling with the patience required to properly fortify a bubble environment in Vegas.
According to people close to league discussions, the NBA’s planning committee, which features several team general managers, has been pitching the idea to start games around Christmas for quite some time. The idea stems from a variety of factors, including coaches and players complaining about too many games in a week, to lack of practice time, early ratings being impacted, and perhaps one of the most significant issues plaguing the NBA before the coronavirus pandemic: load management and rest.
The NBA has already discussed an in-season tournament if play can resume this summer, which Silver said requires more dialogue, but also added would be implemented at some point. One NBA executive said this is the opportunity to explore the concept for at least for one year, in what could be spectator-free arenas. The executive, who spoke to CNBC on condition of autonomy as the individual is not authorized to talk about the matter, suggested opening a new season via a tournament on Christmas.
According to one top-ranking league official, the NBA has explored concepts of concluding final games in Las Vegas, as the tournament would emulate famous overseas basketball cups like the Copa del Rey in Spain. In Las Vegas, the NBA already has built-in business relationships, and could recover some of the lost revenue via sponsorships and gambling dollars associated with a tournament, the executive said, adding a proposed sponsorship slogan for the one-and-done format. “The NBA Cup, where every game is a Game 7,” the individual said.
Barkley’s concerns are well founded, which is why, according to sources primed on the ongoing talks, the hope is that immediate family members would be able to accompany their NBA-playing relatives to Las Vegas.
It’s been over a month since the NBA suspended its season because of the coronavirus threat. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said the hard part about the NBA returning will be trying to have fans in attendance. “It’s no question that’s the hard part. Because when are people going to feel confident enough to go to big gatherings? It’s going to be difficult to start off with 25 people let alone 15,000," Cuban said in an interview with TMZ. "We’re just going to have to defer to the scientists, the doctors who will tell us what we need to do to get the arenas in shape to be able to accept people and for those people to have confidence.
The N.B.A. has repeatedly made it clear that it needs the approval of government and public health officials to resume operations. If you wish to maintain an optimistic tone amid the mounting pessimism in league circles and imagine such approval could be granted as early as June 1, that would still mean nearly three full months of inactivity for N.B.A. players. David Griffin, the executive vice president of basketball operations for the New Orleans Pelicans, neatly summed up the challenges posed by such a lengthy shutdown during a recent conference call with reporters. “I think there would be a pretty unanimous sentiment that the longer we’re out,” Griffin said, “the longer we’re going to need.”
The N.B.A. has repeatedly made it clear that it needs the approval of government and public health officials to resume operations. If you wish to maintain an optimistic tone amid the mounting pessimism in league circles and imagine such approval could be granted as early as June 1, that would still mean nearly three full months of inactivity for N.B.A. players. David Griffin, the executive vice president of basketball operations for the New Orleans Pelicans, neatly summed up the challenges posed by such a lengthy shutdown during a recent conference call with reporters. “I think there would be a pretty unanimous sentiment that the longer we’re out,” Griffin said, “the longer we’re going to need.”
Speaking Monday night on an Instagram Live session with Cayleigh Griffin and television partner AT&T SportsNet Southwest, Morey said: People aren’t going to be back in NBA shape. My guess — and this is up to the commissioner and the plans they’re putting together — is we’re going to have to shorten any plans to a tighter window than people are going to be comfortable with. The reality is, it’s not going to make that big of a difference. You want to get the quality [of play] high enough, but because everyone’s going to be dealing the same ramp up [in activity], there won’t be any relative advantage developed between the teams. Maybe even the first couple of games aren’t perfect, but both teams are going to be dealing with the same thing. … We’re all going to have to do our best in a probably shortened time period.
Speaking Monday night on an Instagram Live session with Cayleigh Griffin and television partner AT&T SportsNet Southwest, Morey said: People aren’t going to be back in NBA shape. My guess — and this is up to the commissioner and the plans they’re putting together — is we’re going to have to shorten any plans to a tighter window than people are going to be comfortable with. The reality is, it’s not going to make that big of a difference. You want to get the quality [of play] high enough, but because everyone’s going to be dealing the same ramp up [in activity], there won’t be any relative advantage developed between the teams. Maybe even the first couple of games aren’t perfect, but both teams are going to be dealing with the same thing. … We’re all going to have to do our best in a probably shortened time period.
Various ideas have been floated by players and executives. One is to consider using a sprawling casino property in Las Vegas, where everything could be held under one roof. Others have suggested playing in the Bahamas, where a ballroom could be converted into a playing court specifically for broadcast. There has even been talk of taking over a college campus in the Midwest, where reported cases of COVID-19 are lower for the moment.
As COVID-19, the coronavirus, spreads across the U.S., the NBA is preparing for the possibility of playing a summer schedule for the first time in league history. There is resounding ownership support for finding a way to finish the season, NBA officials told SI.com, even if that means re-starting the season in late June, even if that pushes the Finals into September. Some estimates have the NBA losing as much as $1 billion in a lost season, an eye popping number team owners desperately want to bring down.
The NBA could also test elements of its planned in-season tournament, which Silver said he “strongly” believes will be incorporated in the coming years. NBA sources told CNBC the league has already floated the idea of using Las Vegas as the final location for a possible in-season tournament.
“The only reason we haven’t played games after June 12 in the past is because our TV partners [see] HUT’s—homes using television—drop significantly,” Cuban said in a recent interview. “Well the TV landscape has changed dramatically over the last three-four years.” The conventional thinking: the weather gets warmer, fewer people watch television, ratings plummet. And they do. But some television executives see any ratings drop reflecting the lack of effort often put into summer programming as the timing of it. Broadcast networks pull top rated scripted shows off the air in the spring and bring them back in the fall.
Several players told SI.com that they would be open to a summer schedule, provided it resulted in a boost in revenue. “Money talks,” texted one veteran player. The current collective bargaining agreement expires in 2024. The NBA’s rights deals expire in 2025, creating, perhaps, a window for the league to explore a change.
The league is on hold with the rest of the world because of the coronavirus. There is nothing close to a set return date for the NBA -- and any time there is a suspension in play, an unplanned round of negotiations typically results. "The NBA and the union are going to have to negotiate when they come back," ESPN insider Brian Windhorst said on his podcast. "They're going to have to open the collective bargaining agreement for simple things like changing the league year."
As one league insider cautioned me, we shouldn’t assume next year’s schedule will necessarily change as a result of this year. While all of us in the peanut gallery are jonesing to push the schedule back, that requires a massive undertaking from the league side at a time when it is already in the midst of another massive undertaking. The NBA could also do everything I outlined in this story and still kick off 2020-21 more or less on time this fall. If that’s the case, however, then that Labor Day timeframe becomes even more of a hard deadline for this season to end.
Team executives seem to be warming to the idea of a December start, though their evolving opinions may be due to necessity, depending on how long the wait is until games are played. It could be a good time to experiment, though. As mentioned earlier, installing a postseason play-in tournament to determine the playoffs was discussed. The playoffs could change formats to reduce the number of games in a series, which Rockets general manager Daryl Morey proposed in the past. It would be a way for the league to test-drive nontraditional ideas without a long-term commitment.
Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin recently proposed starting and ending the NBA season two months than they currently do in order to avoid footballl. Due to the NBA suspending the 19-20 season because of COVID-19, the league may be forced to adopt "I even had one team president, who I respect, who I think has some level of influence in the league said to me the other day that he never really liked that Koonin idea, but the more he thinks about it now, the more it does intrigue him," said Adrian Wojnarowski.
Some key N.B.A. figures welcome an experiment with radical changes to the schedule, such as contesting the N.B.A. finals in August, pushing free agency into September and starting the 2020-21 season on Christmas Day. It is hardly unanimous, but there is a faction eager to turn the delay forced upon the league by the coronavirus outbreak into an unexpected testing ground.
Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin has a plan to increase the NBA's ratings: start and end the season two months later. Koonin spoke Friday afternoon at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston on a panel about possible changes to the league's schedule.
Under Koonin's proposal, the start of the season would shift from mid-October to mid-December, after the college football season has completed its regular season and has begun its bowl season. More important, the shift would cause the NBA to avoid having to compete with two months of the NFL's regular season, as it currently does in the first two-and-a-half months before the "unofficial" start to the league's calendar on Christmas Day.
Meanwhile, the NBA Finals would take place sometime in August rather than June, with the draft and free agency to come after that. That would again allow the NBA to dominate more of the summer months, when it is only going up against Major League Baseball, instead of fighting with football for territory. "A big piece is you don't have to reinvent the wheel to enhance ratings," Koonin said. "Sometimes, moving away from competition is a great way to grow ratings.”
More important than Koonin proposing the change, though, is that Evan Wasch, the NBA's senior vice president of strategy and analytics, said the league was open to such an idea -- as well as others that could reshape how the NBA's regular season plays out, as well as when it does. "We certainly have no issue with reconsidering the calendar," Wasch said. "To Steve's point, you have to think about the other stakeholders. They need to get more comfortable with the Finals in August, rather than June, where traditionally the household viewership is a lot lower.”
Mark Cuban: Put aside the 78 games because that’s a different issue and it’s not a big deal one way or the other. You can make up four games in terms of a play-in or whatever. I’m not necessarily opposed to 78 games, I just have to see the specifics. But when you feel like you need to have an in-season tournament because you feel it’s needed to make the start of a season or the early-grind-it-out parts of a season interesting, you’re effectively saying that without this, the games aren’t interesting. To me, that’s never a good thing in business. You never, ever want to say, “Well, my product’s not as good this time of year as it is in that time of year, so we’re going to spice things up.” That’s not the case and that’s never good business in my mind.
Kyle Goon: From the NBA: Lakers-Clippers has been rescheduled, with four total games affected. - Bulls at Clippers, April 6 (was 8th) - Warriors at Lakers, April 7 (was 9th) - Bulls at Lakers, April 8 (was 7th) - Clippers at Lakers, April 9 (was Jan. 28) Three-in-three stretch for Lakers.
More than three weeks have passed with no announcement of a makeup date as the league deals with an uncooperative calendar. Neither the Lakers nor the Clippers have an obvious, mutual opening over the remaining regular season. To make matters worse, they must share Staples Center with the Kings and frequent special events such as concerts. A league spokesman said Thursday that no date has been finalized.
The most recent version of the in-season tournament included pool play, with designated tournament games built into each team's regular schedule. The top-eight teams based on the results of pool play would then meet in a single-elimination tournament. Under the most recent proposal, all games -- including pool play -- would fall between Christmas and the week of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Spruell said. The league has considered using a 40-minute format for games in the elimination portion of the tournament, Spruell said. Given the outcome of the All-Star Game on Sunday, the league will also discuss the possibility of using an Elam Ending-style target score in those elimination games, Spruell said.
Jared Dudley: Will be done next December! Best teams will play each other.. will help the ratings! Big money prize for the top 2 teams in the finals

https://twitter.com/basketballtalk/status/1229194096629178370
NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Thursday shed light on his aspirations to create an NBA Cup to run through November and December. The idea was first floated in 2016 but has gained traction in recent months with a proposal to cut the regular season to 78 games to make room for an in-season tournament.
"It's a fairly dramatic change from the way U.S. schedules have worked historically," Silver said. "So it's not the change we want to make lightly. And so we're deep into discussions right now with our 30 teams about the right way to innovate and integrate those kinds of changes into our regular season. In fact, as we went down that road, the thinking initially was we would only do it for our 75th anniversary, which is the 2021-22 season."
"The conversations with our teams have not been adversarial," Silver said. "It's not so much a question of counting heads in order to win a vote. Again, it's more a function of ensuring that we're taking advantage of the best thinking from our teams as we move forward." Silver admitted he mines European sports for industry trends that might inform the future evolution of his organization.
As the NBA continues to consider dramatic changes to the league calendar, it no longer plans to stage an owner's vote in April on a formal plan, league sources told ESPN. The NBA informed its teams on Friday that it wants to continue studying and discussing the three significant items, including an in-season tournament, a play-in tournament and the reseeding of the conference finalists, sources said.
Among the concerns, there is still no consensus on the best time for the 30 team in-season tournament that would include pool play and a knock-out round. There had been momentum around a tournament starting near Thanksgiving and extending into mid-December, and there's been some recent momentum for a tournament starting around Christmas through mid-January, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Among concerns for key elements of calendar changes, league feedback on in-season tournament has been to protect existing events like Christmas Day games. Re-seeding of Final 4 continues to have travel concerns. More time to discuss and study it all now.
Jeff Zillgitt: Re: Changes to NBA schedule - I was told in November that a vote didn’t have to happen at April owners meeting. The league has received tons of feedback on these ideas and instead of making these one-year one-offs, they will take a look at long-term viability of some proposals.
Paul takes the temperature of different players every time he travels with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Wednesday’s meeting at union headquarters in Manhattan should bring some clarity to the union’s position. For now, Paul is non-committal as to where he and the union stand. “Nothing is set in stone, and we’ll figure it out,” Paul said. “Personally, this isn’t my company. We’re a league and a union, and we’re going to figure it out.”
Most NBA records are based upon an 82-game schedule, and there are some who feel the record book would be compromised by changing that number to 78 or 79. “But they haven’t always played 82 games, either, and everything is a conversation. Noithing has been finalized” Paul said. “Luckily there are a lot of people who have been in the business, and hopefully the right decisions are made.
The NBA is seriously reconsidering the idea of reseeding the four conference finalists as part of a larger proposal to reshape the league's calendar, sources told ESPN. The NBA appears to be moving toward an eventual vote of the league's board of governors in April to implement an in-season tournament and postseason play-in for the seventh and eighth playoff seeds, but there's an increasing chance that the reseeding idea could be eliminated before a final vote, sources said.
Many teams, especially those on the coasts, have expressed concerns about the increased travel that could lead to competitive disadvantages and a loss of traditional rivalries, sources said. For example, a Milwaukee-Indiana conference final would presumably benefit the winner of that series over a team that emerged from a cross-country Los Angeles-Miami series. The NBA's coastal teams have been largely against this reseeding idea, sources said. The league's research has shown that the proposal of reseeding teams based on regular season records could lead to travel increases of 60% and could result in one in one out of every four series being played across three time zones, sources said.
As much as there is potential for this to add some incentive for teams and its players during the regular-season, not all players are keen on the idea. “I’m old school. In my opinion, I don’t like it," said San Antonio Spurs' DeMar DeRozan recently. "Maybe I’d have a different opinion if I was a rookie or a second-year player, but me – the game is what it is for a reason." The idea of in-season tournaments isn't new in professional sports.
Commissioner Adam Silver, however, is determined to push through some of these new concepts. He understands that interest in the regular season is waning, even after the wildest off-season in terms of player movement in league history, and is prepared to take a gamble or two to try to address the decline. Resistance from various front offices has been strongest to the idea of re-seeding the four teams which reach the conference finals based on regular-season record, due partly to the potential for significantly increased travel one round earlier than the N.B.A. finals. So look for Silver to ultimately scrap that element of the proposal to focus on securing the needed approval for the soccer-style “cup” competition and the playoff play-in games.
The NBA has proposed trimming the season from 82 games to 78 in 2021-22, adding an in-season tournament and adding win-or-go-home play-in games to the start of the postseason. The league also has floated changing its playoff format to reseed the final four teams by record to help ensure the best teams square off in the Finals. A vote on these changes is expected in April. “Games that are meaningful are more likely to draw ratings,” Silver said. “Not to say [the in-season tournament] is a permanent change, but let’s try this. It’s going to require a leap of faith by our teams, the Players Association, our network partners and our marketing partners. It’s based on our best research and ideas. Until we execute on it, we won’t really know how big of a difference it will make.”
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is intrigued by the NBA’s proposed 30-team in-season tournament. “I’m open minded about it,” Kerr said before Friday night’s game against the Pelicans at Chase Center. “I think the league is always looking to improve its product, and I think it’s a good idea to explore these things.”
In addition to the post-Thanksgiving tournament, the NBA is making a case to teams and the union for a play-in for the seventh and eighth conference playoff seeds, and a reseeding of teams in the semifinal round based on regular-season records. “I think that’s interesting and has merit,” Kerr said of reseeding teams in the semifinal round. “If your goal is to get the best two teams in the Finals and it’s pretty clear cut then, yeah, I’d be interested in that.”
“I think it makes sense, and I’ve been a proponent of that,” Kerr said of a shorter regular-season schedule. “I know that everyone has to agree to what that means to revenue and players and owners. They all have to agree on that stuff, but yeah, I think 82 is a lot of games and just cutting out a small handful could be really meaningful during the season in terms of rest and practice time.”
Patrick Beverley: Don’t sound to BAD

http://twitter.com/ShamsCharania/status/1208179672355233792
Shams Charania: Sources: NBA has sent teams the proposal for 2021-22 season changes: - 78-game regular season - In-season tournament ($1M per player, $1.5M coaches pool for champion) - Play-in tourneys for 7-8 playoff seeds - Final 4 reseed in playoffs based on regular season records
Shams Charania: Sources: NBA's in-season tournament format proposal: All 30 teams involved from late Nov. to mid-Dec.: - Divisional games (4 home, 4 away) for group stage - 6 divisional stage winners, plus 2 wildcards for knockout - Quarterfinals at home market; semifinals/Finals at neutral site
The NBA is discussing a $1 million per player purse for the winners of the proposed 30-team, in-season tournament, league sources told ESPN. The league is hopeful that an additional financial incentive would motivate players to treat a new tournament with a competitive fervor.
Among the concerns of top front office officials discussing these ideas with the league office: Many suspect that star players might prefer the five-day scheduling break that would come with not qualifying for the tournament rather than competing for the financial reward of a winner-take-all event that requires a quarterfinal, semifinal and title round to become champion.
Bobby Marks: Important to know that 50% of the NBA players earn $4M or less-including 142 below $2M. Only 29% of NBA players earn above the $9.5M average player salary-including 50 that top $20M+.
Especially among big market owners with larger home game financial gates, finances have also been an overriding concern about the league's in-season tournament idea: Can the NBA promise "revenue-neutral" financial returns to teams for shortening the schedule to 78 regular season games, sources tell ESPN. Teams are reluctant to take short-term losses on losing two home dates to accommodate the tournament, especially when those games can be worth between $3 million and $4 million for the most profitable big market teams, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Story filed to ESPN: The NBA is discussing a $1 million per player purse for the winners of the proposed 30-team, in-season tournament. Reporting with more details on discussions for possible 2021-2022 league calendar change soon on site.
One proposal from a couple of team employees: Guarantee the winning team a playoff spot. That's interesting. It doesn't really impact the elite teams. Some ultra-tankers might not even want a playoff spot if it removes them from the lottery. (They probably wouldn't want to turn off their fans by tanking the midseason tournament, either.) How would clinching a playoff spot in December change behavior over the rest of the season for a middling playoff team?
Teams have been formally proposing schedule tweaks for years. At least one has advocated for a 58-game schedule, with each team playing every other team twice. (Even the proposing team knows that is too radical right now.) One Eastern Conference executive submitted a proposal that in its own way includes midseason and play-in tournaments: a 62-game regular season, after which teams are placed into three tiers based on their record in those 62 games. Teams then play 18 games within their tier -- facing each team home and away -- bringing the season to 80 games.
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September 22, 2021 | 7:42 pm EDT Update