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NBA commissioner Adam Silver suggests a shorter season to curtail the rise in stars missing games

Jason Burgos
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Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has a few ideas to help end the continued rise of superstar players missing games on purpose, and it could include shortening the length of the league season.

The term “maintenance day” has been on the rise in the NBA for the last decade as All-Star players have tried to find ways to reach the playoffs as healthy as possible. For decades, in all sports, the idea of missing games without a serious injury would have been frowned upon. However, we are in different times and athletes have now shown solidarity when it comes to notions related to physical and mental health.

That doesn’t mean it has become an acceptable trend with fans paying for pricey regular-season tickets, or networks shelling out big bucks to the league in television contracts. It seems that the league’s commissioner Adam Silver also is not okay with non-injury rest days and NBA fans missing out on seeing their favorite players take to the court.

Adam Silver explains possible fixes for NBA’s problematic rest-day trend

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Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

At a Wednesday news conference in New York, Silver spoke about what he called “a trend of star players not participating in a full complement of games” and the movement being a detriment to the NBA’s overall regular-season product. While he admitted he doesn’t have a solution to the issue just yet, he and the big brains at the league office have some ideas.

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One plan would see the league try and incentivize regular-season games with in-season tournaments. It is something Silver has suggested in the past, and the league’s creation of play-in playoff games two seasons ago was driven by a similar thought process.

“The other way we can get at it, in terms of player participation, is creating other incentives. The play-in tournament, I thought, was a beginning of creating renewed incentives for teams to remain competitive and be fighting for playoff position,” Silver said [h/t ESPN]. It might be through in-season tournaments and changes in format where we can get at it.”

When it comes to changing the league’s format, a bigger and broader scheme might be for the NBA to cut down on the number of games played. The league currently plays an 82 schedule and that number has often been the source of athletes’ reasoning behind rest days. Silver says the idea has been spoken about recently and is a real possibility.

“I also have said in the past, if we have too many games, that’s something we should look at as well,” he said. “It’s something, as we sit down and we’re looking at new media deals and looking at a new collective bargaining agreement, we will be studying. … From my discussions with players, they recognize it’s an issue, too. The style of the game has changed in terms of the impact on their bodies. I think we’ve got to constantly assess and look at a marketplace going forward and say, what’s the best way to present our product and over how long a season?”