Why Warriors’ Steve Kerr thinks the NBA should consider a 72-game schedule
Why Kerr thinks the NBA should consider a 72-game schedule originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
For at least a decade now, NBA teams have taken precautionary measures with veteran players, giving them a few “nights off” each season. The result is marquee players sitting unscathed, disappointing fans and displeasing league executives.
The subject is discussed regularly, but there has been no remedy.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr thinks he has a solution: a shorter schedule.
“Maybe what makes the most sense is going back to a 72-game schedule,” he said on Saturday, ahead of the whistleblower against the Spurs in San Antonio. “Take 10 games off and get more time to rest between games. I think you’ll get teams on board to play their guys more often.
The current 82-game schedule has been in place since 1967, when the NBA had 12 teams, all of which flew commercially. Nights off were extremely rare, and many starters averaged over 40 minutes per game.
Times have changed, Kerr explained, using the Warriors superstar Stephen Curry – who on four occasions this season has not played the second night of a consecutive set – as an example.
“People pay a lot of money to watch stars perform, but we also know a lot more now about the body,” he said. “We have a lot more information on how to prevent injuries. Each team has a team of doctors who advise us to drop our stars for 10 games a year.
“I know that, especially as Steph gets older, the very idea of playing 82 games for him, it doesn’t make sense because it wears him out. And by the time the playoffs start, if he’s worn out, that are we doing? Why are we doing this in the first place?”
It’s a logical decision, league commissioner Adam Silver said this week.
“That’s something, as we sit down and look at new media deals and look at a new collective bargaining agreement, we’re going to look at it,” he said Wednesday. “From my discussions with the players, they recognize that it is also a problem. The style of play has changed in terms of the impact on their bodies.
“I think we have to constantly assess and look at a market going forward and say, what’s the best way to present our product and over how long per season?”
Silver has in the past conceded that “there’s nothing magic about 82 games”, implying he’s open to the possibility of a reduced schedule. The biggest hurdle is the loss of revenue that comes with every team playing 10 fewer games. Players and team governors have resisted the idea of such a vacuum.
Kerr thinks that gap can be closed.
“Everyone would have to understand the financial ramifications,” he said. “But you could say that if it’s a better product, you’ll get better media rights deals, and a 72-game season might make even more money for the cap anyway. Fewer entry receipts, but maybe more media rights. And in the end, everyone could win.
“But that’s just me guessing. I don’t really have any data to back that up. But that would be my preference.
Most players are willing to adapt for fewer games. Most players are hesitant to take a pay cut of around 12%. The owners would give a boost to any loss of income.
Only if there was a way to overcome this, such as larger media rights contracts, would both parties be likely to agree to such a deal.
And if that ended the era of “load management,” fans would be in on the action, too.