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NBA seeks to revise calendar as James is handed senior NBPA role

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has stated his desire to construct a new schedule that will help keep players in the North American basketball league fresher, while LeBron James, one of the biggest names in the sport, has been handed a senior role at the National Basketball Player’s Association (NBPA).

Speaking ahead of yesterday’s (Sunday) NBA All-Star Game, Silver outlined his concerns over player fatigue and said he would be willing to discuss starting the season earlier or ending it later to help players recover more. Silver said he is keen to achieve “dramatic” improvements in this area and that changes could be introduced as early as next season.

Silver said, according to the Associated Press news agency: “We hear everyone loud and clear. Certainly our players and our teams, that there's nothing more important than the health and welfare of our players. And ultimately we want to see players getting appropriate rest and playing at the highest level.”

Changes could lead to the elimination of the current four games in five nights schedule and fewer stretches of games on back-to-back nights, the former of which has become more of an issue since Silver opted to lengthen the All-Star break due to concern from players.

“One of the things we're hoping to address, even for next season, is to come as close as possible as we can to eliminating the four games out of five nights,” Silver said. “It's a math formula at the end of the day in terms of the number of days we play, but we think we can make a dramatic reduction there.”

Silver said although coaches are keen to keep enough time for training camps that are held prior to the new season, there is less demand for pre-season games, which could in turn lead to an earlier start date. Silver also said that although ending the season later may mean a possible clash with the yearly draft and free agency period, he will not rule this out.

“Generally the view has been – in addition it just feels out of sync once you get into the summer – historically those nights haven't been viewed as the best television nights, once you get into July, and just in terms of households watching TV," Silver said. “I will say maybe that's something we should look at, too. If we're truly going to take a fresh look at this, we have to examine what the appropriate time is to begin the season and when we should end it.”

Meanwhile, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James has been appointed as first vice-president of the NBPA. James was unanimously elected to the role at a meeting on Friday, despite not being in attendance due to a prior sponsorship commitment.

In his new role, James said he expects to be involved with issues such as labour negotiations with NBA franchise owners. According to the Reuters news agency, James said: “It's going to be a very important negotiation and process and I think I'm a big part of the process.” James is also likely to be involved with other issues including the installation of human growth hormone testing and the one-and-done rule for college players, who now can enter the NBA just one season after graduating from high school.

Michele Roberts, executive director of the NBPA, added: “LeBron has been a force to be reckoned with among our players since the man hit the court. We have always wanted to have players of influence be included on our executive committee. It gets your attention.”