Are changes coming to the NBA season?

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The 2021-2022 NBA season could look a little different than usual.

According to Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN, the league is formally exploring how it might use its 75th anniversary season as an opportunity to test not only a midseason cup and postseason play-in tournament, but also a reduction in the 82-game regular-season schedule.

What did the conversations cover?

According to Arnovitz, the committee, made up of approximately a dozen top team executives from both basketball and business operations, discussed what pulling off something like this would look like and how they would adjust the schedule to do so.

One of the points discussed was a reduced regular season made up of 58 games, ensuring every team would host each of the 29 other teams in their arena over the course of a season. According to those in the meeting, the desire for a major reduction in games was limited.

Those in the room believe that a midseason cup and postseason play-in tournament could eventually offset lost revenue from a shorter regular season.

Harder than it looks…

For something like this to occur, the NBA would have to get everyone from broadcast partners and sponsors to the NBPA and team owners on board.

Even if the changes were to be approved for the 2021-2022 season, Arnowitz notes that the league would view it as a pilot program. Even Adam Silver knows changes like this aren’t near, saying that they are “five years out, six years out” from seeing any major changes. 

“We and the players have a common interest in maximizing viewership and maximizing interest. The format we have in place now…I’m a traditionalist on one hand, but on the other hand it’s 50 years old or so, presenting an 82-game season, and there’s nothing magical about it.” – Adam Silver earlier this year after the NBA’s spring Board of Governors meeting.