If the Warriors (tonight) and Cavs (Tuesday) finish off their sweeps of their respective Conference Finals series, the NBA will be faced with a nine-day layoff before the June 4 start of the NBA Finals. A report on Sunday from CBSSports.com indicated that the league was exploring moving up the start of the Finals to June 2 to counteract some of that gap.
Not so, says the NBA, according to San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami:
NBA has told the teams will NOT be moving Game 1 of the finals. It will be June 4.
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) May 25, 2015
You can see why the league thought about this — nine days is a long time with no games in this fast-paced news cycle, and there are concerns about rust with such a long break. But ultimately, keeping the date as-is is best for everyone involved, logistically speaking. Many media members, fans, league officials and partners have already started making travel arrangements with the June 4 start date locked in. ABC and ESPN have already carved out those time slots for telecasts, and changing it on such short notice would mess with advertising commitments.
Beyond just the logistical side of it, if you want the best series possible, keeping the start date as-is and letting the teams rest up is the way to go. Assuming both the Hawks and the Rockets don’t mount historic comebacks and make the Finals, the matchup is going to be Warriors-Cavs. Kyrie Irving has missed the last two games for Cleveland and has looked severely hobbled in the playoffs before that. The Warriors are relatively healthy but Marreese Speights has missed time. The Finals will be much more compelling if both teams have everybody healthy, especially in the case of someone who can have the impact a healthy Irving can. More time to rest and get treatment means a greater chance that he’ll be close to 100 percent for the Finals, which is better for everybody. The NBA made the right choice here.