Tim Bontempsespn5 minutes to read
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in an interview with Stephen A. Smith told ESPN’s “First Take” that the league is considering returning to an East versus West format for the All-Star Game this season, after receiving the highest votes in each conference serving as leaders the past several seasons.
“We’re looking at some potential changes in the format in Indianapolis this year,” Silver said of the 2024 All-Star Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. “Maybe going back to something more traditional in terms of how teams are pitched. We’ve gone to kind of that leader and draft idea, but obviously historically it’s been East versus West. So maybe that’s something we’re looking at.”
Silver’s comments came after Joe Dumars, the NBA’s president of basketball operations, said last week that reviving interest in the All-Star Game — and playing the All-Stars more aggressively — are the league’s priorities.
Silver said the demands of All-Star Weekend, which is full of events for players starting Thursday evening, takes a toll on their energy by the time the game starts Sunday night.
“All-Star weekend is a spectacle,” Silver said. “I always laugh because even before the game starts on Sunday afternoon, people say, ‘This is the best ever!’ And I say, ‘We will, we have this game.’ I’ll take some of the blame for that because when you’re there this year in Indianapolis Starting Thursday night and then going into Sunday, I think it’s an opportunity for the entire global basketball community to come together. Great legends of the game. Just all-stars, but there’s a lot of players. I don’t know how it works in other sports, but we have dozens and dozens of players. In the league who choose to come to All Star Weekend to participate in various event activities who are not even All-Stars. So I think we lost a little bit that it comes down to the game at the end of the day.”
He also downplayed the idea of a Team USA vs. World Cup match, acknowledging that while it has been successful in other sports – citing the Ryder Cup – and could spark more competitive matches, the fact that there are fewer international players to choose from could lead to Distortion of public opinion. Too many players.
Silver also touched on other topics:
• Expanding on comments Dumars made about load management and the league’s implementation of its player engagement policy, Silver emphasized that changing the course of the discussion about increasing the number of games played by stars will require everyone’s buy-in.
“I think there was a consensus that this was a common issue,” Silver said. “Call it a team, league, player issue. There’s a little bit of error, you know, for everybody. I would say there are some cases, I think particularly with young players, I would say it’s not as much about the veteran player.” “The issue is, to the extent That they get to the league, and the rule seems to be that the expectation is not that we have an 82-game season. I think we had to reset that there. But again, I say more directly, “We’re not saying this is just a player issue. We’re saying that for the entire league, we all have to come together. As Joe Dumars says, we’re an 82-game league.”
Silver stressed that he does not believe that shortening the season is the solution.
“The other issue that will arise is whether the season should be shorter. None of us think so,” he said. “None of the data supports that. As I was saying, going back to this issue of load management, we don’t see more injuries later in the season. Players are not more likely to get injured after they’ve played 40 games.” “Compared to the first week of the season, I mean unfortunately injuries happen.”
• Asked about situations such as When Damian Lillard and James Harden asked to be traded, Silver reiterated his position: Trade requests have been going on for decades, and the league’s biggest concern is for them to spill into the public domain, as they did in both cases.
“I’ve never kept this a secret,” Silver said. “This is nothing new in the league, going back to the early days. There are players who want to get out of their contracts, and I’m sure there are teams that wish they hadn’t entered into certain contracts with players. But of course, everyone is expected to respect their contracts. As much as the player or the team is unhappy, these are issues that should be resolved behind closed doors.
“But again, I don’t want to be naive… Any time you and I sit down, there’s always going to be some situation that you can point to and say: ‘What’s going on over there? Why does this happen?” “The player wants to get out of his contract? Or why is this team unhappy? “So we just have to deal with those situations.”
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