NBA to reduce significance of winning division

Jay Asser 07:25 16/07/2015
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In command: Silver.

The significance of winning a division in the NBA is likely to be reduced even further next season. 

Commissioner Adam Silver, speaking at the Board of Governors meeting in Las Vegas, said his expectation is the league will adopt a change where the Eastern and Western Conference playoff seeding will be based on regular-season records.

Currently, division crowns guarentee a top-four berth in the playoffs, which led to the Portland Trail Blazers earning the fourth seed in the West despite holding the sixth-best overall record this past season.

Divisions are still likely to exist, but the advantage of winning one looks as if it will be done away with, as recommended by the competition committee.

There are, however, no plans to alter the moratorium period at the start of free agency, which allows teams to negotiate contracts with players but not officially sign them.

The moratorium has come under scrutiny this summer following the DeAndre Jordan saga. The centre flipped on his verbal agreement with the Dallas Mavericks made during the moratorium and instead re-signed with the Los Angeles Clippers.

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“I would say from a personal standpoint, it was not a great look,” Silver said of Jordan. “There was a breakdown in the system to a certain extent.

“Teams come to rely on those assurances. … I’m not sure it’s [Jordan’s] proudest moment either, but, again, he was exercising a right that he appropriately has under the collective bargaining agreement.” Next summer, the moratorium is three days longer from July 1-11, but the league could potentially look at shortening the period in future years. As of now, it will remain unchanged.

“Nobody had a great idea, frankly, in terms of how to change it,” Silver said. “I think there was some discussion about whether the moratorium potentially should be a bit shorter. But as I’ve said the other day, it’s an imperfect system.

“And we still think we’re striking the right balance between teams having the opportunity to talk to players when they become free agents and creating certainty at some point when contracts are entered into.”

Jordan is also at the centre of another topic of discussion among the competition committee. Due to his poor free throw shooting, the 26-year-old is often intentionally fouled and the side effect is more drawn-out games, especially in the playoffs.

Jordan is one of a handful of players who gets the treatment, but there’s little incentive to modify the existing rule.

“We came out status quo,” Silver said. “We recognize we are an entertainment product and we’re competing for eyeballs, number one. It’s almost counterintuitive.”

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