NEW YORK — NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the media on Saturday night and shared his thoughts on a laundry list of topics and challenges facing the league. Silver said he is now ready to start taking action on several initiatives that have been in the works over the past year.
Here are some snippets:
On draft lottery reform:
“We’ve already begun with the Competition Committee talking about how we can readdress the issue. I personally believe we do need to make some changes in the draft lottery, which I believe is largely a perception issue. We want to ensure that our fans know that our teams do not have an incentive to lose games; that it may not be in any given season that you can ultimately have a winning and playoff-bound team, and it’s a multi-year task. But we want to ensure our fans that our teams are always undergoing a process to try to field the best possible team on the floor.”
On changing the playoff structure:
“I understand the notion that we should have the absolute 16 best teams competing in the playoffs seemingly regardless of conferences and divisions. I am a believer, though, in the conference and the division system ... to the extent that you have a balanced schedule, meaning every team roughly played each other the same amount of times, it would require a lot more travel. That goes against the notion of ensuring that our teams are rested when they play.
“So I believe in the conference system, although I think there may be some tweaks. There’s been some proposals about maybe division winners are ensured playoff spots. Maybe it’s the top two teams in each division and maybe there’s some teams that, therefore, get seeded based on their record.”
On shortening the preseason:
“I think [teams] don’t think the preseason games are as valuable as they once were, in terms of the conditioning of their players, in terms of getting a chance to truly observe players in game conditions. So I could see a scenario where while we’ll continue to have a fairly lengthy preseason, we may be able to shorten it a little bit, and that will help with some of our scheduling issues and we may be able to reduce the number of preseason games.”
On developing a less grueling schedule:
“The issue of back-to-back games, the issue of four games out of five nights. One of the things we’re hoping to address, even for next season, is to come close as we can to eliminating the four games out of five nights. It’s a math formula at the end of the day, in terms of the number of days in the season and the number of games we play, but we think we can make a dramatic reduction there. And while I don’t think we can completely eliminate four out of five nights, we hope to make tremendous progress. We’re also very focused on the back-to-backs. There, once again, it’s a function of numbers of days in the schedule and numbers of games we want to play. But I think we can make a dramatic impact there.”
On an exhibition game in South Africa:
“Our plan is to conduct an exhibition game comprised of NBA players. We’re not bringing over NBA teams in the summer, but comprised of players who want to be part of this game. It would be the first NBA game on African soil ever. And our intention is for that game to take place approximately August 1st of this coming summer.”
On age limit increasing to 20 years old:
“Obviously, it’s 19 right now. We had proposed 20 the last round of collective bargaining. And it remained at 19. I’ve been very clear, when you say how big a priority is it for me? I think consistent with my priority about youth basketball. I think it would be much better for the game if the minimum age were 20 instead of 19.
“Having said that, I do understand the other side of the issue. While the Union has stated its view that they want to keep it at 19, we haven’t entered collective bargaining. We haven’t sat across the table and discussed it with them.”
Follow Adam Himmelsbach on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.