Silver talks the championship in the season, expansion before the NBA Finals

Silver talks the championship in the season, expansion before the NBA Finals

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Over the past three seasons, six franchises have reached the NBA Finals. The league has seen five champions from the Eastern Province in the past five seasons. This will be the fourth year in a row that the team lifting the trophy will not be the same that did so the previous year.

Adam Silver loves all these numbers.

The NBA commissioner, in his annual NBA Finals address Thursday night held just before the first game between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics, reiterated his familiar objection that he doesn’t care who wins. But he also sees the value in some year-to-year unpredictability as to which teams will make it to the first round.

“Of course, I am interested in the platform that we offer and the competition itself,” Silver said. “Anyone who runs a league doesn’t necessarily want to see in my mind parity on the ground every year, but parity of opportunity. You also want a system where the best players, and the best managed teams can excel too.”

The league has seen five different Eastern Champions in the past five years – Cleveland in 2018, followed by Toronto, Miami, Milwaukee and now Boston. It’s the first time since 1998 until 2002 when five different franchises won the East in a five-season period.

The Western Conference ranks third in a different tournament in three years: the Los Angeles Lakers won in 2020, Phoenix won last year and now the Golden State. The last time West achieved such a long run was between 2010 and 2013, when the Lakers, Dallas, Oklahoma City and San Antonio won the standings.

“We focus a lot on ensuring through the salary cap system that teams have, in essence, the same fair opportunity to compete,” Silver said. “And that’s something we always look at as part of our system, and it’s something we’re constantly talking about with the players union. … All of the 450 players are supposed to want to have an equal chance to win trophies and be part of the championship team. So, I’m happy. Where we are now. I am happy with the teams here in the finals.”

Among other topics covered by silver:

blazer sale

Silver said he believes the Portland Trail Blazers will be sold. The question is when.

ESPN and other outlets reported Thursday that Nike co-founder Phil Knight and Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Alan Smolinisky submitted a bid to buy the Blazers for more than $2 billion. The Blazers then released a statement saying the team is not for sale.

The Blazers are still owned by the Paul G. Allen Trust, after the death of the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft nearly four years ago. Allen’s sister, Judy Allen, is the testator of the estate.

“At some point, the team will be sold,” Silver said. “I have no sense of the exact timing. Today I read the same statement that she or someone on behalf of the estate said that the team is not currently for sale. But at some point it will be for sale. This is a very complex property, and although several years have passed, the These things take time.”

Silver said it’s an NBA preference, and his hope is that the Blazers – when sold – will remain in Portland.

Championship of the season

Silver has spoken several times in recent years about his hope to add a championship in the season, similar to some of the awards that football teams in Europe compete for during their seasons. It’s still a priority, but nothing has been finalized yet.

“We’re not there yet,” Silver said.

The league commissioned a study in 2019 that showed that 60% of NBA fans wanted a shorter regular season, 68% of fans were interested in course of season and 75% interested in course of play. The cycle of play has been carried out ever since; The in-season championship and the decision to shorten the regular season — one proposal that the league saw as calling for a move from 82 to 78 games — are still at the concept stage.

But the NBA has had a shape in mind for nearly three years already: Teams will play eight division-level games in the group stage of the event, counting the regular season total. The six group winners and two wild cards will advance to the quarter-finals, then the semi-finals and the final to be played at a neutral venue such as Las Vegas. The players on the winning team will split $15 million; The winning coaching staff will share $1.5 million.

“We want to make sure we have a system where our best players are motivated to be on the ground,” Silver said. “At the same time, we obviously don’t want to see them injured. And so, what we’re hoping for is that we can all work collectively, 30 teams together in a non-competitive way, along with our players’ union and see what’s optimal in the bodies of these players so They are motivated to play but they don’t overdo it to the point that they end up playing too much and putting pressure through injuries.”

All changes in the NBA

Silver said that “a fair amount of consideration” would change the system by which NBA teams are selected.

A voting committee of 100 media members was tasked with selecting three teams from five – two goalkeepers, two strikers, and one center for each team. This led to Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers to be the second team in the NBA in both 2021 and 2022 behind teammate Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets. Jokic was the MVP in both seasons, and Embiid was the MVP and runner-up.

But in a league that is largely out of place, the NBA continues to insist that NBA teams are done through positions. That may change.

“We’ll discuss that with the players and sit back and see if there’s a better way to do it,” Silver said.


Silver said any talk that the league is targeting Seattle and Las Vegas for expansion in 2024 is “incorrect.”

“We’re not discussing that at the moment,” Silver said.

It’s no secret, and Silver said again on Thursday, that the league will eventually expand beyond its current 30 teams. However, dilution of player talent remains a major obstacle to expansion.

“The expansion is really creating a certain amount of mitigation,” Silver said. “And even kind of adding another 30 or so players that are roughly comparable, there are still a lot of top-tier talent out there. That’s something other teams have in mind when we think about expansion.”

However, Seattle and Las Vegas have been called “wonderful markets.”

2022-06-03 02:00:00

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