NBA commissioner Adam Silver is just starting to publicly acknowledge the elephant in the room – tanking.
Here’s yet another example.
One afternoon soon after this year’s All-Star break, a general manager of a team destined for the lottery was on the phone with a counterpart presiding over a playoff-bound squad. The call was a routine check-in to yak about league business and trade gossip. With the two teams coincidentally scheduled to face one another that night, the executive presiding over the tank job squawked to his more fortunate counterpart, “Please don’t tell me you’re resting any of your main guys tonight.”
The last thing that exec’s team needed was a win, as he was trying to position his organization for the best chance to have its choice of top talent in June’s NBA draft.
The tanking general manager was kidding on the square.
He obviously had no control whether the playoff-bound team rested its top players. I’d be shocked if his off-hand comment had any effect.
But we’re supposed to believe someone so heavily incentivized to tank and who talks about tanking isn’t actually making any decisions to decrease his team’s chances of winning?