According to sources who were present, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently addressed possible solutions to the problem of tanking while noting that he understands why teams would do it when a “once-in-a-generation player” is about to enter the league.
His comments were made to employees of the Phoenix Suns. Silver also noted that he understands why teams would do it when a “once-in-a-generation player” is about to enter the league.
This Week’s Q&A Will Be Held During
During this week’s question-and-answer session in the Suns’ arena, during which Silver also apologized multiple times on behalf of the league office to a large group of Suns employees for workplace misconduct under the direction of majority team owner Robert Sarver.
Silver called it a “serious issue” that has sparked “hundreds” of meetings. He made these comments after referring to it as a “serious issue” that has sparked “hundreds” of meetings.
During the session, one of the employees asked Silver about tanking, a topic that is widely expected to dominate the conversation within the league because the 7-foot-4 French phenom Victor Wembanyama a potentially franchise-altering prospect is projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft.
Silver informed the staff members, “We gave teams fair warning.” This is going to be an area that receives a lot of focus from us during the year.
When asked how the league plans to motivate the poorest clubs to improve their performance, Silver mentioned relegation, a notion borrowed from European soccer. But then the commissioner chimed in and declared that the NBA would be “destabilized” by relegation.
According to what Silver informed his staff, relegation would include sending the two weakest clubs to the G League and bringing the top two teams from the G League up to the NBA.
“It would disturb our business model,” Silver said to his staff. Even if you promoted two G League teams to the NBA, they would struggle to compete.
In 2019, the NBA changed the chances of the draft lottery such that the three lowest regular season record clubs all have the same 14% chance of winning the lottery.
(Before then, the worst-recorded squad had a 25% chance, the second-worst team had a 19.9% chance, and the worst-recorded team had a 15.6% chance.)
Silver Warned His Squad Against Tanking Thus Far In 2018
Nonetheless, Silver reminded staff that tanking is still a problem this year.
Silver warned that this was a potential danger that needed to be monitored. “It’s generally agreed that a draft is a fair and effective method of selecting winners. But I can see why it might be, particularly when a once-in-a-generation talent emerges like we have this year.”
Wembanyama wasn’t specifically mentioned by name, but sources say Silver did say the league would adjust if they’re needed.
We’re constantly seeking to see if there’s still a better system, Silver told his staff, because “teams are smarter, they are innovative, and they adapt — we move, they move.”
Silver also addressed a question on league expansion. He informed workers of the Suns that the league would look at expansion more carefully after it is through negotiating the forthcoming broadcast rights. Silver was responding to a question regarding league expansion. After the 2024–25 season, the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) existing TV rights package—a nine-year contract with ESPN and Turner Sports—is scheduled to come to an end.
Silver communicated to the staff that ” to assess any teams coming in, we need to know where we are from a media aspect; that is certainly our most important type of income overall.”
But Silver also brought up the “possible dilution of skill,” which means that increasing the number of teams would make the entire product less appealing.
He told the workers, “None of us can remember going into a season where there was a perception of so much competition, but still, the goal is to have 30 competitive teams, not 20, or whatever it is, so think we do pay attention to the dilution factor.”
“None of us can remember going into a season where there was a perception of so much competition.”
Nevertheless, Silver said that the league is, generally, doing well and that there is no lack of great contenders for additional clubs in new areas, but he did not identify any particular places. Silver did not mention any specific cities since he was not authorized to discuss the matter.
Both Las Vegas and Seattle are currently in the running to get NBA franchises if the league decides to grow.