With the 2021-22 season officially in the books, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is looking ahead to the future of basketball's biggest and most prestigious league.
Amid ongoing conversations about rule changes and a potential mid-season tournament, Silver is also considering taking action against one of the NBA's most controversial practices: load management.
In a chat with the media this summer, Silver hinted at his thinking on load management and suggested there could soon be something in place to deter players from needlessly skipping games.
The Board of Governors voted Tuesday to permanently incorporate the play-in tournament into the league’s postseason schedule. Adopted in 2020 and expanded in 2021, the play-in tournament features eight teams competing for the final four spots in the 16-team postseason field. The league is weighing a possible midseason tournament as well, further adding to the burden placed on players.
“I’m not looking to shorten the season, but it’s a conversation we should all have,” Silver acknowledged Tuesday. “What’s optimal in terms of number of games on a player’s body? Let’s be realistic about that.”
Silver has already made his stance on load management quite clear. In fact, during the same press conference, Silver labeled the fad as 'frustrating' for fans.
"There’s nothing more frustrating also for our fans than having players, frankly, who aren’t injured following some program schedule for rest. I’m looking at [Spurs executive] R.C. [Buford], you started this all. That isn't clear, at least to me. Whether it's serving a useful purpose. So figuring out a way to create that right healthy balance."
We all want players to stay healthy, and load management helps them do that. But when fans pay to attend or watch a game, they lose something from the experience when the best players sit out for no reason.
As the man in charge, Silver has the power to stop load management in its tracks... and it seems like he's getting closer to making that happen.