Adam Silver sets the NBA’s agenda for upcoming work talks

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LAS VEGAS — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday that the league has entered “the very early stages” of labor negotiations with the National Basketball Players Association, as both sides have an opportunity to opt out of the current contract in December.

In a broad press conference following the Las Vegas Summer League Board of Governors meetings, Silver said he expected issues such as trade requests, age limits, load management and the length of the 82-game schedule to surface during the next round of talks.

The commissioner touted the NBA’s “optimistic” meetings and strong financial recovery from the pandemic – noting a record $10 billion in sales for the 2021-22 season – and said he expected the upcoming season to be better 2022-23 will proceed according to their standard schedule despite the continued presence of the pandemic.

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But Silver stressed that he wasn’t pleased with ongoing trade requests being registered by prominent players like Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, adding that he didn’t want “the game to be a sideshow” to intrigue about player movement intrigue.

“We don’t like it when players make trade requests and see how it pans out the way it is,” Silver said. “Basketball was fantastic last season. I don’t want to be naïve, but I would love the focus of the game to be on the floor. … This must be a one-way street. Teams offer players tremendous security and guarantees. The expectation is in exchange that they fulfill their end of the bargain.”

Because a single trade request like Durant’s can affect his teammates and opposing team players who could be traded for him or even rumoured, Silver argued that the NBA and NBPA should share a “mutual interest” in order to “bring more.” to have stability.” ”

Meanwhile, the NBA’s age limit – which has stood at 19 since 2006 – will be reassessed in upcoming talks. Although Silver preferred to raise the age limit to 20 when he succeeded David Stern as commissioner in 2014, he said he now believes it was due to “changes in society” and the NCAA’s implementation of the name, likeness and likeness rules should be lowered to 18.

“I think that [lowering the age limit] will be right,” said Silver. “I am confident that we will make this change in this next collective bargaining cycle.”

During a meeting of the NBA’s technology partners on Monday, Silver condemned the strategic resting of players and questioned whether it had any real health benefits. Silver credited San Antonio Spurs chief executive RC Buford for popularizing the practice that has come to be known as load management, arguing there was “nothing more frustrating for our fans”.

Still, the Board of Governors voted Tuesday to permanently include the play-in tournament in the league’s postseason schedule. Accepted in 2020 and expanded in 2021, the play-in tournament features eight teams competing for the final four spots in the 16-team postseason field. The league is also considering a possible midseason tournament, further adding to the strain on players.

“I don’t want to cut the season short, but it’s a conversation we should all have,” Silver admitted Tuesday. “What is optimal in terms of the number of games on a player’s body? Let’s be realistic.”

The commissioner added that the next working talks could produce language adding “additional incentives” to a player’s contract based on the number of “games played and the results of those games”.

In an immediate development, the Board of Governors voted to increase penalties for “transition take fouls,” intentional fouls committed to prevent a fast-break opportunity without making a “legitimate” play with the ball. Last season, defensive players committed more than 1,700 fouls, according to league data, a 55 percent increase from the previous year.

The league’s new approach, implemented in the 2022/23 season and used in the G League since 2018, grants the attacking side a free throw and possession if a defensive player commits a deliberate foul in the transition phase. Under the old rule, the offensive team simply retained possession of the ball.

If a defender commits a transition foul while attempting to play the ball, it still counts as a common foul. Fouls are still allowed in the final two minutes of regulation time and overtime periods, allowing defensive teams to stop the clock while attempting a comeback or committing a foul to prevent their opponents from hitting a game-winning three-pointer.

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The rule change follows last season’s crackdown on “non-basketball moves” by offensive players attempting to make contact with defenders with “abrupt, overt and abnormal” actions such as leg kicks, sharp leans or sudden stops.

The NBA and NBPA also agreed to establish a joint fund to make annual payments to approximately 115 former American Basketball Association players who were otherwise ineligible for the NBA’s retirement program.

To qualify, former ABA players had to have played three years in the professional league, which existed from 1967 until it merged with the NBA in 1976. The new payment program grants each eligible player $3,828 annually per year of service.

“Our players have a genuine sense of appreciation for those who paved the way and helped us achieve the success we enjoy today,” Tamika Tremaglio, executive director of the NBPA, said in a statement. “We’ve always viewed the ABA players as part of our fraternity.”

  • Silver said the NBA and WNBA are “doing everything in their power” to bring home WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was arrested in Russia after her February arrest. Griner’s case was highlighted during the NBA Finals and WNBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago. “Your wife was recently quoted as saying she is pleased with whatever the Biden administration is doing,” Silver said. “I honestly don’t know what else we can do.”
  • After moving the 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte because of the NBA’s opposition to North Carolina’s “bathroom law,” the league will not consider a state’s abortion laws when selecting future host cities. “The biggest impact we can have as a league is how we treat our own people and our own values, rather than moving into other communities and telling them what position to take on these issues,” Silver said.
  • While Silver didn’t provide a specific update on the league’s investigation into the Phoenix Suns over allegations that owner Robert Sarver used racist and misogynistic language, he did note that the investigation was in the “final phase.”

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