Silver Says NBA Likes ‘Even Opportunity’ For Its Teams – Shawnee News-Star

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By TIM REYNOLDS AP Sports Editor

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

Adam Silver likes all these numbers.

The NBA commissioner, during his annual NBA Finals address on Thursday night, just before Game 1 of the series between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics, repeated his familiar refrain that he doesn’t care. who wins. But he also sees the value in some year-to-year unpredictability when it comes to which teams qualify for the title round.

“Of course I care about the platform we present and the competition itself,” Silver said. “Anyone running a league wants to see in my mind not necessarily parity on the pitch every year, but parity of opportunity. You also want a system where the best players, the best managed teams can also excel.

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 to 2002 that five different franchises have won the East in five seasons.

The Western Conference is on its third different champion in three years: The Los Angeles Lakers won in 2020, Phoenix did it last year and now Golden State. The last time the West had such a longer run was from 2010 to 2013, when the titles were won, in order, by the Lakers, Dallas, Oklahoma City and San Antonio.

“We’re very focused on ensuring, through the salary cap system, that teams, in essence, have the same fair opportunity to compete,” Silver said. “And that’s something that we’re always looking at as part of our system, something that we’re constantly talking about at the Players Association. … All 450 players presumably want an equal chance of winning championships and being part of the game. ‘a champion team. So I’m happy with where we are. I’m happy with the teams that are here in the final.

Other topics covered by Silver include:

SALE OF BLAZERS

Silver said he thought the Portland Trail Blazers would 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 made an offer to buy the Blazers for more than $2 billion. The Blazers then released a statement saying the team was not for sale.

The Blazers remain the property of the Paul G. Allen Trust, following the billionaire Microsoft co-founder’s death nearly four years ago. Allen’s sister, Jody Allen, is the estate trustee.

“At some point the team will be sold,” Silver said. “I have no idea of ​​the precise timing. I read the same statement today where she or someone on behalf of the estate said the team is not currently for sale. But at some point it will be for sale. It’s an extremely complex area, and even though it’s been several years, these things take time.

Silver said the NBA’s preference, and his own hope, is that the Blazers — whenever they’re sold — stay in Portland.

TOURNAMENT IN SEASON

Silver has spoken several times in recent years about his hopes of adding an in-season tournament, modeling it on some of the trophies that football teams in Europe compete for over the course of their seasons. This remains a priority, but nothing is finalized yet.

“We’re not there yet,” Silver said.

The league commissioned a study in 2019 that showed 60% of NBA fans wanted a shorter regular season, 68% of fans were interested in an in-season tournament, and 75% were interested in a play-off tournament. in. The play-in tournament has since been implemented; the in-season tournament and the decision to shorten the regular season — a proposal the league has considered to go from 82 to 78 games — remain in the idea phase.

But the NBA has already had a format in mind for nearly three years: teams would play eight divisional games in the event’s group stage, counting towards their regular-season total. The six group winners and two wildcards would advance to the quarter-finals, then the semi-finals and final would be played at a neutral venue like Las Vegas. Players on the winning team would split $15 million; the winning coaching staff would split $1.5 million.

“We want to make sure we have a system where our best players are incentivized to be on the pitch,” 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, the 30 teams together in a non-competitive way, with our players’ association and figure out what’s optimal on those players’ bodies so that they’re incentivized to play. but don’t overdo it to the point where they end up overplaying and getting injured.

ALL-NBA CHANGES

Silver said “a healthy dose of consideration” would potentially change the system by which All-NBA teams are selected.

The 100-member media voting committee is tasked with choosing three teams of five – two guards, two forwards and a center from each team. This led to Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers being the All-NBA second team in 2021 and 2022 behind fellow center Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets. Jokic was MVP in both seasons, Embiid was the MVP runner-up.

But in a largely positionless league, the NBA continues to insist that All-NBA teams be made by positions. This may change.

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

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