NBA considers shortening 2021-22 regular-season

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LOS ANGELES — When the NBA celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2021-22, it might do so by giving its players — and fans — a shorter regular-season as part of a restructured calendar.

According to an ESPN report Wednesday, the league has begun exploring options that include a possible midseason tournament, a postseason play-in tournament and an abbreviated regular-season schedule.

ESPN reported that an advisory committee with about a dozen top team executives from both basketball and business operations took part in a June 17 conference call to discuss with the league office possible alternatives to the traditional NBA schedule for the 2021-22 season.

The “wide-ranging brainstorming session” was very exploratory, according to ESPN. Proposed reforms would be adopted as a pilot program.

A new midseason cup-style tournament would likely require a shorter regular-season schedule, which could greatly affect team revenue for franchises committed to local broadcast partners that also rely on revenue from game attendance.

Discussions included reducing the regular-season games to as few as 58, which would allow each team host each of the 29 other teams, but a smaller reduction is possible. Few officials favor a major reduction in the number of games, according to ESPN.

The NBA would need cooperation from several parties, including the players’ union, ownership groups, national and local broadcast partners and sponsors, to agree to the changes.

While able to make recommendations to the NBA’s Board of Governors, the advisory committee has no official governing authority. — Reuters