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NBA commissioner Adam Silver has made adding more rest into the schedule one of his missions, and this week the league sent a memo to teams outlining ways to make that happen.
When the new seven-year deal was reached on the collective bargaining agreement in December, one of the key details was the preseason will be shortened, and the regular season will be longer in an effort to further reduce the number of back-to-back games and four games in five nights that teams play.
“We feel pretty good with the additional weeks we will eliminate four games out of five nights, which beginning when we seriously started looking at this issue a few years ago,” Silver said at the Board of Governors meeting in April. “That was the number one concern from our teams more than the back-to-backs.”
In the memo, the league added new measures to insure more rest:
- They will eliminate playing four games in five nights as well as 18 games in 30 days.
- There will be a reduction by 17% of the number of single-game road trips.
- There will be a total of 11 single-game road trips that a team has to travel more than 2,000 miles, a 67% reduction.
- A total of 40 back-to-back games will be eliminated. The average for each team will be 14.9. Last year’s average was 16.3.
- There will be 40 total stretches of five games in seven nights. Last year, there was 90 of those.
- There will be 568 games played on the weekend, up from 549 last season.
“We’ve made tremendous progress, reducing the number of back-to-backs over the last several years, in part just by better scheduling,” Silver said at the BOG meeting. “With the extra week, as I also mentioned, requiring our teams to give us additional nights, that will give us flexibility in creating the schedule, we should be able to do a reduction of two more back-to-backs per team.”
A big reason for the changes in the schedule were that teams were resting players last season on big TV nights, causing a drop in ratings and anger among fans.
Silver sent a memo to each organization in March expressing that teams would face “significant penalties” if they don’t follow league rules for reporting player injuries and illnesses.