Thursday December 7, 2023

NBA Considered Euro-Style Relegation System to Combat Tanking

  • The NBA explored a promotion/relegation system in which the worst-performing teams would be demoted to the G League.
  • The league ultimately decided such a move would be too destabilizing.
Victor Wembanyama is entering the NBA.
Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league explored a radical change to combat the issue of tanking.

With certain teams incentivized to lose so as to capitalize on the NBA’s draft system, Silver said the league looked into a promotion and relegation system along the lines of European soccer as a potential solution.

  • Under such a system, the worst-performing one or two NBA teams in a given season would be demoted to the G League, while the top G League teams would be promoted in their places.
  • “It would so disrupt our business model,” said Silver, explaining why the league is unlikely to pursue the concept. “And even if you took two teams up from the G League, they wouldn’t be equipped to compete in the NBA.”

Speaking to Phoenix Suns employees, Silver acknowledged that teams want to improve their draft lottery position with a “once-in-a-generation player” available, presumably referring to projected top pick Victor Wembanyama.

Sunsetting Sarver

Silver was addressing Suns’ staff in part to apologize for conditions under owner Robert Sarver. Sarver said he will sell the team following a report that he fostered a toxic workplace and repeatedly used racist and sexist language.

The sale is expected to break records, but it is not clear at this time who will pony up. Jeff Bezos is reportedly unlikely to make a bid, according to Puck, and Laurene Powell Jobs may be content with her roughly 20% stake in Monumental Sports, which owns the Washington Wizards. 

Oracle founder Larry Ellison could be interested but may face opposition from the league due to his politics.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

A Chicago Bears helmet.

Yet Another Proposal for A New Bears Stadium: The Parking Lot

Popular tailgating site becomes latest stadium site possibility for NFL team.

Fresh Off Turnaround Season, The Orioles Could Be Facing Big Changes

MLB team reportedly nears sale agreement with local native and billionaire.

NWSL’s Record Media Deals Drive Schedule Expansion

The league will grow to a 26-match schedule in 2024.

NBA in Vegas? LeBron and RedBird Are All In

RedBird Capital Partners, Fenway Sports Group working with NBA superstar.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Why the NBA May Have Made Billions With Midseason Tournament


Featured Today

The College Football Playoff is considering rotating TV networks for the national championship game.

CFP Considers Super Bowl-Like Rotation For National Championship Game

Multiple networks could share rights to the championship game, sources told FOS.
Brett Favre
November 27, 2023

Favre Welfare Case Hold-Up? "AG’s Office Has Not Expressed Interest In Pursuing"

The DOJ interviewed Brett Favre in early 2020.
The future of the Pac-12 rests on a court decision.
November 24, 2023

The Pac-12 Plays Its Final Regular-Season Game. Then A Court Decides Its Fate.

The conference's future rests with a court decision.
Lane Kiffin
November 9, 2023

Ole Miss, Lane Kiffin Lawyers Argue for Dismissal of Player Lawsuit

FOS obtained audio of Lane Kiffin's interaction with the player behind lawsuit.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Multiple Locations
Multiple Locations
Creative Artists Agency
Multiple Locations

The Most Talked-about Part of the NBA Tourney? Look Down

Floors generate widespread rebuke for both design and safety.
December 6, 2023

In-Season NBA Tourney Upshot: Success. But Will It Change?

The inaugural edition of the tournament has been mostly a success.
NLL Seals Las Vegas
December 6, 2023

Meaningful NBA Games Finally Hit Las Vegas. Expect More

End of NBA In-Season Tournament is latest major event to hit sports boomtown.

NHL’s Chris Foster on Amplifying Content Distribution With Automation

Learn how the NHL is using WSC Sports to increase fan engagement.
December 5, 2023

Baseball Extends Celebration of Negro Leagues With HOF Tribute Game

New event dovetails with planned MLB game at historic Rickwood Field.
December 5, 2023

NHL Plans To Stage 2024 Draft At $2.3B Vegas Sphere

League becomes first sports entity to stage an event entire at venue.
December 5, 2023

NHL's Projected Record Salary Cap Reflects Revenue Surge (and Resilience)

Increased media revenue, rising attendance fuel post-pandemic recovery.
December 3, 2023

In Light of More Player Defection Talk, PGA Tour Pens Optimistic Memo

Players on policy board look to convey sense of calm, optimism.