Mark Cuban supports extending NBA season into July

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The NBA almost certainly won’t appease LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and Erik Spoelstra by reducing the number of games in a season. There’s just too much revenue at stake.

But the league is serious about easing the toll its schedule takes on players.

The NBA instituted an extended All-Star break this season, but still needing to crunch 82 games per team into the same 170-day span, back-to-backs are up.

One potential solution: Beginning the regular season earlier by shortening the preseason.

Mark Cuban also wants the league to extend the season on the other end.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said the NBA is seriously considering altering the schedule to go later into the summer as a means of reducing or potentially eliminating back-to-back games.

“I’ve been bringing it up for years,” Cuban said before the Mavs’ 99-92 win over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, one of three games in four nights for his team. “[Commissioner Adam Silver is] more open to it, and he’s going to be considering it. Everybody’s for it now.”

“I’d rather us go later in the season into July,” said Cuban, who still is in favor of trimming the preseason schedule. “Used to be, we had to be concerned about baseball. Now we don’t. Baseball, particularly from a media perspective, has become regional, so it doesn’t negatively impact us from a national TV perspective to go late.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the issue at his All-Star press conference:

Q.  Adam, with the scheduling, the making of the schedule, is there any discussion or will there be or can there be about the calendar simply starting earlier, ending later than what you already do, or are you pretty much locked into a Halloween start and a June 20th end and that’s got to be the way it is?
COMMISSIONER SILVER:  Sure, Brian.  And I think that goes to the earlier question about the preseason.  Training camp is critically important to our teams.  Could we shorten it up a little bit if we didn’t have quite the same number of preseason games, and then add those days in the regular season, so we would gain a little bit at the beginning?  And the question is towards the end of this season, can we push a little bit further in June closer to the Draft?  I think there had been discussions‑‑ well, I wouldn’t characterize them as discussions.  I’ve heard proposals about them moving The Finals past the Fourth of July.  Generally the view has been ‑‑ in addition it just feels out of sync once you get into the summer ‑‑  historically those haven’t been viewed as the best television nights, once you get into July, and just in terms of households watching TV.
I will say maybe that’s something we should look at, too.  If we’re truly going to take a fresh look at this, we have to examine what the appropriate time is to begin the season and when we should end it.
But at least without a major overhaul in the way our season is now played, you’re right, we can gain a little bit at the beginning of the season.  We can gain a little bit at the end.  When it comes to four games out of five nights and back‑to‑backs, literally every day matters.  So that will be helpful to pick up a few more days on both sides of the schedule.

The NBA season includes too many back-to-backs. It also drags too long.

Yes, the NBA has two problems that are diametrically opposed.

Back-to-backs hurt the product on the floor, tiring players and diminishing their production and/or causing their coaches to reduce their minutes.

But fans also get fatigued by the long season. Extend it further, and even more people will get burned out before it ends.

I don’t know the exact equilibrium point, but shortening the preseason and moving up the regular-season start date would be a great step in the right direction. Extending the season is a little dicier.

What will Rockets do at trade deadline? Send out Gordon? Bring in Collins?

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There’s a sense in league circles that this is the final season Houston will be okay with having one of the worst — as of today, the worst — record in the NBA. The Rockets hope to grab one of the big names at the top of the draft board this season, but they already have drafted Jalen Green at No. 2 (2021) and Jabari Smith Jr. at No. 3 (2022), plus made a draft night trade for Alperen Şengün (who is playing well). With cap space to spend and extensions coming up, the tanking days will be over.

How will that impact the Rockets at this trade deadline? Here are a few names to watch.

Kelly Iko at The Athletic reports the Rockets have interest in the Hawks’ John Collins and the sides have talked, but there is no real traction yet.

There has been nothing concrete from the Rockets — merely ideas floated by the Hawks to Houston among other teams — but the interest is real.

The Rockets could also be part of a larger, three-team trade to move Collins.

Eric Gordon remains on the trade block, as he has been for more than a year. Gordon has been frustrated waiting, but the Rockets have held out for what they thought was fair — a first-round pick — to no avail. That price likely comes down, and according to Iko at The Athletic, the front office is “more inclined to trade him now” than in the past, but the proof will be in a deal.

• Teams also are calling about K.J. Martin, according to Iko.

K.J. Martin, there continues to be interest in the 22-year-old combo forward who has been quite productive as a starter — averaging 14 points and seven rebounds on 35 percent shooting from 3 — but nothing concrete at this juncture in terms of offers on the table.

The Rockets like Martin, it’s going to take a serious offer to get them to consider it.

Knicks reportedly offered multiple first-round picks for OG Anunoby, got nowhere

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What are the Toronto Raptors going to do at the trade deadline?

It’s less than two weeks before the trade deadline and the entire NBA is still asking that question, the Raptors are the one team that could turn this trade deadline from a dud to epic if they decide to pivot toward a rebuild. Are they willing to trade players like OG Anunoby or Pascal Siakam, or will they look to add a more traditional big man such as the Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl, who has been linked to the Raptors in rumors? Everything seems to be on the table.

Anunoby is a player a lot of teams covet, including New York. The Knicks reached out to the Raptors, reports Ian Begley of SNY.TV.

“And Anunoby with Toronto, I mean, that would cost you a lot. That would cost you significant draft compensation. Maybe the Knicks are there, maybe they’re feeling like they could make the playoffs and make a big push if you added in Anunoby. I know that we reported they contacted Toronto on Anunoby and I was told in that conversation they offered multiple firsts. But this was a while back… Toronto has done a lot since then. But I don’t think the league is crystal clear on what [the Raptors] want to do on Anunoby.”

Anunoby is an elite on-ball wing defender who can be a finisher, averaging 17.3 points and 5.6 rebounds a game at age 25 — the asking price will start at two unprotected first-round picks in this market. The Knicks may have thrown some of their protected picks in the conversation, but Toronto’s asking price is reportedly sky-high because they’re not eager to get rid of him.

Anunoby is making $17.4 million this season and is under contract for $18.2 million next season, a fair price for what he brings to the court (he has a player option at $19.9 million in 2024-25). What the Raptors do with him may signal their direction.

At the deadline, most people around the league expect Toronto to trade Gary Trent Jr., but that’s it. Any other big moves are likely this offseason. If ever.

Reprots: Luka Doncic day-to-day with “mild” ankle sprain

Washington Wizards v Dallas Mavericks
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While there are grades of ankle sprains, ask anyone trying to walk around on one if there is a “mild” version.

Yet that’s what Mavericks sources say about Luka Doncic’s ankle sprain suffered against the Suns on Thursday night. He is “day-to-day” with the injury, a story first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (and since confirmed by others).

Doncic has been playing through ankle soreness in recent weeks and it’s fair to expect the Mavericks to give him a few games off. However, it can’t be too many for a team fighting for a playoff spot, the Mavs are 0-5 in games Doncic has rested this season and have been outscored by 5.3 points per 100 possessions this season when he sits (although they did beat the Suns largely without him Thursday). Doncic is an All-Star starter averaging 33.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.6 assists a game.

Dallas plays next on Saturday against the Jazz. It would be a surprise to see Doncic suit up for that game.

https://twitter.com/CallieCaplan/status/1619016699289956353

Boban? Crowder? Holmgren? Exploring player votes for All-Star starters

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Four NBA players — not one as a joke, but four… as a joke — voted for injured Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren to start the NBA All-Star Game.

The NBA All-Star Game starters were announced Thursday, chosen from a weighted vote of fans (50%), media (25%) and current players (25%).

While most NBA players may take their All-Star Game starter votes seriously, some do not — they vote for friends, college teammates, guys with the same agent, or just whoever they feel like.

Which is comedy gold once we comb through the public vote (Note: names are not attached to who cast a vote, but we do see who got votes). This season, that list of players getting at least one vote to be an All-Star starter include:

Bol Bol (Orlando Magic, he got six votes)
Willy Hernangomez (New Orleans Pelicans, he got five votes)
Juancho Hernangomez (Toronto Raptors, he got three votes)
Omer Yurtseven (Miami Heat, he got three votes)
Georges Niang (Philadelphia 76ers, he got five votes)
Ochai Agbaji (Utah Jazz, he got four votes)
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Oklahoma City Thunder, he got three votes)
Bismack Biyombo (Phoenix Suns, he got three votes)
Jae Crowder (Phoenix Suns, he got two votes)
Udonis Haslem (Miami Heat, he got two votes)
Blake Griffin (Boston Celtics)
Boban Marjanovic (Houston Rockets)
Kemba Walker (Dallas Mavericks)
Kendrick Nunn (Los Angeles Lakers)
Ish Smith (Denver Nuggets)
Torrey Craig (Phoenix Suns)
Luka Garza (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Chimezie Metu (Sacramento Kings)
Furkan Korkmaz (Philadelphia 76ers)
R.J. Hampton (Orlando Magic)
Johnny Davis (Washington Wizards)
Cedi Osman (Cleveland Cavaliers)
MarJon Beauchamp (Milwaukee Bucks)
Paul Reed (Philadelphia 76ers)

That is just a fraction of the entire list.