NBA commish talks schedule changes and state of Knicks, Nets

Written By kom nampuldu on Jumat, 13 Februari 2015 | 18.18

New NBA commissioner Adam Silver sat down with The Post's Tim Bontemps to discuss the state of the league heading into the All-Star Game Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Q: What are three or four things you anticipate decisions will be made on over the next year?
A: Number one is the scheduling process, and that includes how many dates we require our arenas to hold, how early those dates need to be submitted to us, and how we create the schedule from those events. We're in the process of creating a new computer program to help us analyze all the information we get, and then when it comes to the schedule we want to look at whether we can dramatically reduce the number of four games in five nights and the number of back-to-backs.

In part, we recognize there are certain limitations, because it's a mathematical equation in terms of the number of dates we have available and the number of games we want to get in. But we think we can make real improvements there in the scheduling process. I was going to say the next thing we want to look at is the playoff scheduling process. There have been a lot of proposals over the years about potentially seeding the teams in different ways. Everything from 1-to-16 based on record to other proposals in which division winners are automatically in the playoffs. That would be six teams, and then you would seed the next 10 teams based on record. Those are the kinds of issues we're going to be looking at.

Q: There's been a push by some to eliminate divisions. Do you feel they are necessary?
A: I think divisions and conferences are important. I think rivalries continue to be important, and the practical issue of travel. If you eliminate the conference and division system, you're going to have teams traveling even more than they do now, which brings us back to our first issue, and that's on the appropriate resting of players.

Q: Several big-market teams (Knicks, Lakers, Celtics, 76ers) aren't good this season. Is that bad for the league?
A: We never like to see any of our teams struggling, regardless of what market they're in. But with a league like ours, it's a zero-sum game in terms of wins and losses. I don't have any particular view about where those wins should be distributed among our teams. Certainly what we like to see is 30 well-managed clubs that are pursuing a program to build championship teams over time, and that's what we're seeing here. There's always going to be an ebb and flow of any given organization, and all these teams can do is put themselves in a position to try to win over time, and that comes from smart drafting and strong people in the front office, that comes from creating culture, and when I look at the teams in our large markets I think they're all making the necessary decisions that will ultimately pay off.

Q: What have you thought of Phil Jackson's first year on the job?
A: As I said, winning in this league is very difficult, and Phil is taking a long-term view towards building a championship team, and knows there are no shortcuts to success.

Q: What is your opinion on Mikhail Prokhorov's ownership of the Nets, presuming he does sell the team in the short-term as some expect, and would the league be interested in more foreign owners?
A: Yes, the league would always be open to more international owners. He's been a great owner. I know he would have liked to have spent more time in Brooklyn, but the situation back in Russia, especially over the last year, hasn't allowed him to travel as much as he hoped. He engaged in somewhat of a high-risk, high-reward strategy by becoming a large (luxury) taxpayer, but that's permissible under our system. It took them into the second round of the playoffs last year, and I know his goal has been to win championships, so I'm sure he's somewhat frustrated.

But I know when you look at what he and Bruce Ratner have done in Brooklyn by successfully completing that building, by making the move from New Jersey, from that standpoint it's been spectacular. As you and I know as New Yorkers, that arena is a permanent fixture of this community, and not only is there for basketball events but is practically full year round including the circus and concerts and other events, as well. So if he did decide to sell, I think he would be leaving an enormous legacy here in New York.


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