By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) – The creation of an NBA in-season tournament will be discussed at the league’s board meeting in April as the game’s stakeholders look to adjust the season’s schedule, commissioner Adam Silver said on Friday.
Speaking ahead of the NBA regular season game between the Charlotte Hornets and the Milwaukee Bucks in Paris, Silver said that it was still unclear whether the changes would take place in the 2021-22 season.
A new calendar would cut the number of regular-season games to 78 from 82 to make room for the in-season tournament.
“The ultimate issue is getting it right. We made a collective decision to continue to study the various issues involved in changes in the schedule,” Silver told reporters at the Bercy Arena.
“Originally what we proposed is doing a one-off experiment in what would be the 75th anniversary of the NBA. What we heard back both from our teams and also from our media partners is that we should look at something like a multi-year program.”
Silver hinted there would be no vote on the matter in April.
“There was no magic around a vote in April. The ultimate issue is not a vote, it’s what it is that we should be doing,” he explained.
“What we’re characterizing as an in-season tournament is… a concept that we adopted form European soccer. Playing for more than one trophy or one cup is something that makes a lot of sense for our league.
“It’s unclear whether it will start in the 2021-22 season… but it will be very much discussed in our April board meeting.”
While the NBA struggles to adapt its schedule, the league is still looking to continue its global expansion.
“We do have plans in Europe for the following years. We haven’t specifically set them yet – part of the determination is based on arena availability and there continues to be an investment in infrastructures throughout Europe, which is very encouraging to us,” said Silver.
“The only limitation is the way the current schedule is structured, and one of the projects the league continues to focus on is what should a regular season look like five years, 10 years from now and hopefully we’ll be building more windows toward more travels during the regular seasons.
“The quality of the international play is incredible. Look at the recent All-Stars. Plus, 25% of our league now is made of international payers and Europe as a region is still where most of our international players come from. So we’re going to continue to invest in basketball in Europe.”
Friday’s game in Paris is the 10th regular-season fixture in Europe after nine previous games in London from 2011.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)