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.
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.”
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.