There has been a growing sentiment in recent years that the NBA needs to shorten its regular season. Players as well as some analysts have spoken about the toll an 82-game season takes on the body and have attributed the rising injury problems to it as well.
The NBA, for its part, has tried its best to ease the load on the players. They have reduced back-to-backs, started the season a bit earlier to spread out the games and the all-star break is longer than it used to be as well, to give players a bit of a breather during the season.
That's still not enough for a lot of the players, however, as load management is still an issue for the league. Commissioner Adam Silver has previously spoken about the NBA being concerned about players missing time and ahead of the NBA Finals he said that he would be open to restructuring the regular season if there was a correlation between it and all the injuries, but he isn't sure there is one. Silver's comments have led to a lot of discussions among NBA circles, with Richard Jefferson being one of the more prominent voices against the idea of a shorter season.
"You wanna shorten the season? Look how much more do we have to make this coddling and all of this stuff go with the players? It makes absolutely no sense. Professional sports is not good on your body. It’s supposed to separate the people that can do it from the people that can’t do it. And while we do want our best product on the floor, part of greatness in longevity."
"That's what Michael Jordan, that's what Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, that's what LeBron James all of these guys we talk about their greatness over a long period of time. And to keep eliminating this and dialing it back to the point where it's like there is nothing else for the players to do. I think it is a joke. I think they should never do this."
"This right here is the epitome of coddling players to make sure that everything is okay, on top of the fact that players are taking rest days..... at the end of the day they're still going to take time off."
Jefferson is in line with most ex-players here who believe that the season shouldn't be shortened and that the players these days have gotten plenty of concessions already. He stated that even if the season gets shortened, the players would still take rest days and that might well be true.
The NBA is desperately trying to find a way to solve this issue, but a clear solution doesn't seem in sight at this point.