Adam Silver made his first big move as NBA commissioner Tuesday, banning Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and urging the league’s Board of Governors to force Sterling to sell the team. This issue undoubtedly will take up most of his time in the near future, but there are a number of other matters on his plate. A look at Silver’s possible next moves.
1.) Ending “one and done”
Silver has been adamant that he wants to change the NBA’s eligibility rules, which currently state that a player has to be 19 years old and a year removed from his high school graduation to enter the NBA draft. Silver wants to raise the age to 20 by working with the NBA’s players to amend the league’s collective bargaining agreement, perhaps as early as the 2015-16 season.
“I’ve been a proponent of raising the age from 19 to 20 because I think it would make for a better league,” Silver said last week, per USA Today. “I believe and continue to believe it will be in the best interest of the league. I think that the extra year in college will be a benefit for these young men to grow and develop as people and basketball players.”
2.) Putting corporate sponsors on jerseys
Sterling said last week that there have been “ongoing discussions” about putting sponsors’ logos on players’ jerseys, a common practice for professional soccer teams across the globe but one that has been mostly untapped by U.S. pro leagues. From USA Today:
“It’s inevitable that there will be some sort of branding on our jerseys. We’re a global league and we have a unique opportunity to help extend the coverage that our business partners can receive,” Silver said.
Silver declined to state specifics, but said that sponsorships would likely be in the form of a patch on the jerseys.
3. Changing the draft lottery
There’s a bit of a back-and-forth on the effects of “tanking” — with one side saying it’s bad for basketball, the other saying it’s a victimless crime that’s essential to a bad team’s rebuilding efforts — and Silver said that the league could adjust the lottery if he feels it’s becoming a problem, though his comments suggest that’s not exactly the case.
“The very purpose of the lottery is to prevent there from being an incentive to lose games,” Silver said per ESPN in February.
“And so to the extent that incentives aren’t entirely aligned, we’ll look at the lottery again. We have adjusted it several times over the years, and we’ll adjust it again if necessary. But we’ll see. We have a competition committee, that’s one of their mandates, to continue looking at that. But I’m not overly concerned right now.”
One possibility is the so-called “lottery wheel,” as reported by Grantland in January:
Grantland obtained a copy of the proposal, which would eliminate the draft lottery entirely and replace it with a system in which each of the 30 teams would pick in a specific first-round draft slot once — and exactly once — every 30 years. Each team would simply cycle through the 30 draft slots, year by year, in a predetermined order designed so that teams pick in different areas of the draft each year. Teams would know with 100 percent certainty in which draft slots they would pick every year, up to 30 years out from the start of every 30-year cycle.
4. Changing the playoff format
Earlier this month, Silver told the San Antonio Spurs’ broadcasting crew that “we should take a fresh look” at changing the means in which teams qualify for the playoffs, perhaps by having the top 16 teams qualify regardless of conference instead of taking the top eight teams from each conference. As Ken Berger of CBSSports.com pointed out earlier this month, “This season marked the 11th time in 14 years that the ninth-place team in the Western Conference had a better record than the eighth-place team in the Eastern Conference.”
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