NBA changes rules to make baseline safer for players


 Marcelo Huertas tries to pass the ball to Nene Hilario past the defense of United States’ Rudy Gay (8), of the Sacramento Kings, Derrick Rose (6), of the Chicago Bulls, and Stephen Curry (4), of the Golden State Warriors, during the first half of an exhibition basketball game Aug. 16. Photos like this are going to be tougher gets for photographers.  (Charles Rex Arbogast / AP)

The NBA is making more room around the stanchion beneath the basket, a decision it says isn’t the result of the injury Paul George suffered earlier this month.

In order to improve player safety, the league also will reduce the number of photographers allowed to sit along the baseline. An extra foot of open space will be created on either side of the stanchion, according to regulations sent to teams by league president of Rod Thorn and obtained by the Associated Press. From the AP:

Only 20 camera positions, 10 on each baseline, will remain, down from 24 last season and 40 during the 2010-11 regular season. Each baseline can have six photo spots on one side of the basket and four on the other, and dance teams or other entertainers cannot be stationed along the baseline.

“We have been studying this issue consistently over the last four years and these are just the latest adjustments to make the baselines an even safer area for our players, our team attendants and the photographers,” Thorn said. “Many of the incidents of contact between players and photographers are around the basket area, so we felt it made sense to increase the open area between the baskets and the first photographer to four feet.”

Players have often been at risk of crashing into a camera when tumbling out of bounds behind the basket. The NBA experimented with limiting photography spots during last season’s playoffs before deciding to make those changes permanent and mandating the bigger escape lanes.

“We will continue to examine this to ensure the safety of our players while at the same time allowing for the networks and media to properly capture images from our games,” Thorn said. “We feel we have balanced those needs very well but will continue to review our processes throughout the season.”

George is expected to miss the entire NBA season after suffering a compound fracture in a Team USA practice.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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