NBA commissioner Adam Silver asked team owners for possible solutions to the rest issue this week, but he forgot the brightest, most honest, most knowledgeable person of all.
Yeah, girls and boys, you’re lookin’ at it.
As most of us admit, it’s a rip-off for fans to pay full price when one or more healthy starter sits out, which happens more than ever these days. So let’s reduce prices by 25 percent if one team has played the previous day or 50 percent if both have done so. Tickets, parking, concessions — everything.
Think the higher-ups would agree to that? Me, neither.
OK, let’s do this instead …
The problem is two-fold — too many games in the regular season, too many long and lengthy road trips. First, reduce the schedule from 82 to 74 games. Not a drastic change but significant enough. That’s eight fewer sets of back-to-back games for each team and fewer excuses for players to sit out.
Next, divide the Association into three 10-team conferences — East, Central and West. The Warriors would be paired with Denver, Los Angeles (two teams), Minnesota, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento and Utah. Teams play conference opponents six times each instead of four currently. They also meet the 20 teams outside their conference once apiece.
In the Warriors’ case, they play 54 games against their nine closest geographic rivals compared to only 34 now. That means fewer cross-country flights. The set-up also further promotes local rivalries and places more significance on conference games.
Fewer games plus fewer red-eyes plus more practice time plus fresher players equal a better product, no?
The downside is, teams outside the conference would visit once every two years. Well, guess what? Under the current system, you could donate big bucks to watch LeBron James sit on the bench, anyway. That is, if he makes the road trip at all.
In the playoffs, the top four teams in each conference plus those with the next four best records make the cut. The 16 qualifiers are paired best against worst in each round. That means a greater variety of matchups, fewer lousy teams and more reason to win games in the regular season. If the playoffs were to begin today, for example, the Warriors would face the Detroit Pistons, a team they last met in the postseason four decades ago.
Cooler yet, the NBA Finals could feature two teams in the same conference. Hey, if the teams with the two best records come from the same general area, why should one be penalized?
It’s called Big Picture, people.
LOOK OUT BELOW: For the second time in 16 days, the Minnesota Wild beat the listless Sharks on Tuesday. The score was 3-2, but it wasn’t that close. Again. Martin Hanzal was in the middle of a huge goal. Again.
Team Teal has lost four games in a row and its lead over the second-place Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers has dwindled to four points. Each has a game in hand.
In other words, its not too early to post the Heimlich Maneuver on the dressing room door.
JUST SAYIN’: NHL players should take part in the next Winter Olympics. If team owners are scared of the possible consequences, they should purchase big, fat insurance policies.
The Raiders reportedly will have to pay upward of $375 million to relocate to Las Vegas. So if you see owner Mark Davis casino-hopping there, you’ll know what it’s about.
Now that the FBI had helped Tom Brady’s jersey, we all should feel a whole lot safer …
YOUR TURN: “I don’t care about the 49ers any more. They moved from my hometown to Santa Clara. It’s a bit far-fetched to think, but what if they won the Super Bowl? Where would their victory be celebrated? Santa Clara. Their ‘paying fans’ look more wine-and-brie cheese types who would like to eliminate tackling in football altogether. I’m now a Raiders fan. Consistent.” — Bill Bower, San Bruno
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