How do you keep integrity in the NBA?
National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver has expressed concern that some of the league’s franchise’s owners or management might purposely lose games to get a chance at the first pick of the 2023 NBA Draft. One of the solutions Silver admitted is thoroughly unworkable. The NBA would drop its worst two or three win-loss record franchises and replace those franchises with teams from the league’s minor league system. It is unworkable because there are few G League markets that work for the league’s business model. The New York teams have G League affiliates in the New York City suburbs but the Westchester Knicks play at a small arena in White Plains that did once host some Knicks games in the early 1960s. The Brooklyn Nets’ affiliate plays at the Nassau Coliseum which once housed the New York Nets but that building is way past its glory days and is not suitable for an NBA franchise. The same holds true in Los Angeles, Toronto, Washington and other NBA markets. But the G League is for the most part in small markets and serves a purpose. It develops some players who eventually make it onto NBA rosters.
“It would so disrupt our business model,” Silver acknowledged. “And even if you took two teams up from the G League, they wouldn’t be equipped to compete in the NBA.” The NBA does have a G League franchise in the Las Vegas market, an area that Silver knows well because the NBA has a summer league in town and Las Vegas is where LeBron James wants to set up shop with an expansion franchise. Silver said for now, the draft lottery and draft will stay. Silver admitted relegation would mean the worst-performing teams are incentivized to compete. But Silver then said relegation would be “destabilizing” to the business.
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