Every time you get in a serious discussion about fixing the NBA’s issue of marquee players getting rested for big games, the topic will come around to “the NBA’s regular season schedule is too long.” Everyone nods in agreement with that statement, the league doesn’t really need 82 games and then a couple months of playoffs.
However, changing that would change to the core how the NBA’s financial model. How many people around the league are willing to make less money to have fewer games?
Steve Kerr would. Here is what he said, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
“I wouldn’t be opposed to it, even at the expense to my own salary, but it’s something that everyone would have to agree to,” Kerr said before Tuesday night’s 112-87 win over the Dallas Mavericks. “I think even just going down to 75 games, I think that would make a dramatic difference in schedule. Now I don’t see that happening because there is money at stake for everybody.”
Kerr makes one. With some work we might be able to get up to five people willing to take less for more rest.
Shortening the NBA schedule, even by seven or 10 games, would require a restructuring of every NBA contract — with the players, with the television broadcasters both national and local, with national NBA sponsors, with individual team sponsors. That’s just the first step. And again, you’re doing all this so that the players and owners can both take a pay cut (both gate and television revenue would go down).
The league is going to take steps to make sure that the league’s biggest names play in its showcase games if healthy (although let’s be honest, DNP-Rest will simply be replaced by DNP-back or DNP-ankle in plenty of cases). That has to start with how the NBA schedules games — if you’re going to hype a Saturday night game like it was a playoff game, then treat it like one with rest on either side for the teams involved.
“I do think this (rest issues) can be remedied though — maybe not remedied — but I think it can be dramatically helped with what the league is already working on for next year and the consideration of geographics when it comes to the schedule,” Kerr said.