NBA commissioner Adam Silver focused on examining ‘the tendency of star players not to participate in a full range of games’

NEW YORK — NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday that while there was no specific discussion about the impending arbitration between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers, he said his biggest concern for the future is “a tendency for star players to miss a full roster of games,” and hopes the league and the National Basketball Players Association can address that.

“I’m not here to say I have a great solution,” Silver said at a news conference here in midtown Manhattan after the two-day Board of Governors meeting this week. “Part of the problem is injuries. One of the things we focused on at the league office and we spend – we had started spending a lot of time on pre-pandemic – is there there things we can do in terms of sharing information, resources around the league to improve best practices, rehabilitation?

“The other way to do that, in terms of player participation, is to create other incentives. The Play-In tournament, I thought, was a start of creating renewed incentives for teams to stay competitive and are fighting for playoff position, maybe through in-season tournaments and format changes where we can get there.”

Silver went on to say that it was even possible to consider changing the 82-game schedule. Although he alluded to it in the early parts of his response, he did little to hide his desire to create an in-season tournament, and also said on Wednesday that he was happy with the how the play-in tournament has gone in the past. two seasons since its introduction.

“I’ve also said in the past, if we have too many games, that’s something we should look at as well,” Silver said. “That’s something, as we sit down and look at new media deals and look at a new collective bargaining agreement, we’re going to look into it. There were no knocks on the table or whatever. it’s like. From my discussions with players, they also recognize that it’s a problem. The style of play has changed in terms of the impact on their bodies. I think we have to constantly assess and look at a market in the future and say, what is the best way to present our product and over how long per season?”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Bobby Marks and Ramona Shelburne reported over the weekend that Simmons had filed a grievance challenging the nearly $20 million in salary withheld by the 76ers this season.

The grievance – which will now go through an arbitration process – could have bigger implications for the league amid future mental health issues and NBA contracts.

Silver said the league would not be directly involved in such arbitration and the league would sit on the sidelines during litigation.

Other topics covered by Silver include:

* Silver said that despite the recent passage of anti-LBGTQ legislation in Utah, the NBA has not considered moving next year’s All-Star Game and does not plan to do so.

When asked what the difference was between that decision and the decision to move the Charlotte All-Star Game a few years ago to a similar bill, Silver said, “Every situation is unique. In the case of 2017 and HB2 in North Carolina, we were working directly with the team there, we felt there was an opportunity to have a direct impact on this law, working with the broader business community .

“It’s our collective view that we can continue to operate in Utah, and frankly, we don’t want to be in a position where we’re being chased from state to state across the country,” he said. he declared. “Times have changed. There are different issues at the moment in the country compared to 2017. Personally, I don’t like the trend. We are also aware as a league that we are looking for opportunities to unite people rather than dividing them.

“I would just say that I have tremendous respect for (Jazz owner) Ryan Smith. I think he opposed this bill. We joined him in opposing this bill. But we also want to be realistic in terms of the impact that we can have. In the case of HB2 in North Carolina, I think that was our collective view, we work with the Hornets, that we could have an impact. on this legislation. I think in the case of what’s going on in Utah right now, this bill is settled.”

* Asked if there was an update on the investigation into the conduct of Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver following ESPN’s investigation last fall, Silver said he there wasn’t and that he wouldn’t share a timeline for when it would be over.

“The investigation is ongoing,” Silver said. “I mean, these types of investigations take a long time. You want to make sure that you gather all the facts and you also want to make sure that you protect the rights of the accused. So we want to err on the side of being very thorough. We are certainly closer to the end than the beginning, but it is difficult to establish a precise timetable at the moment.

He gave a similar answer when asked about the league’s involvement in the lawsuit that former Dallas Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson filed against the team.

“Our only involvement at the moment is to monitor the situation. Typically, as you can imagine, within an executive committee there is a report from the board to our owners,” he said. “But for the most part our teams go to the league office to oversee investigations, and that’s how it’s always been.”

* Regarding the adjustments to the game itself, Silver reiterated that he was very happy with the play-in tournament and expects him to continue to be part of the league in the future, although that he said there might be some adjustments.

He also added that the idea of ​​eliminating the ‘take four’ – a foul given to intentionally stop fast breaks before they start – could happen as early as next season, although hurdles remain. before it can be changed.

“It’s something, as you know, that we’re very focused on and looking to make a change for next season,” Silver said, referring to the foul clearing. “We still have some work to do with our competition committee. We will be meeting the board again in July which would be a possible time to change this rule. But as we are seeing some sort of quite dramatic increase in taking fouls, we don’t think that’s a big part of our game. International basketball has another way of doing that, but it’s something we’d potentially like to change.