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.
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.