By TIM REYNOLDS – AP Basketball Writer
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The NBA has completed the process of changing the transitional foul rule, ending years of discussion about what to do with the long-maligned tactic.
And, as expected, the play-in tournament will be here for the foreseeable future.
The league’s board of governors finalized both of those issues on Tuesday, approving a plan to award a free throw when teams are at a foul-playing disadvantage – as well as removing the “experimental” designation from the play-element. in the playoffs.
“Generally it was upbeat coming out of our meeting,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. in terms of our protocols around the game, particularly around the health and safety of our players.”
It was no surprise that the league changed the penalty for grappling fouls; Silver told The Associated Press in early June that would change, while warning that the new rule could still be changed in years to come.
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The gripping foul – in which the defender does not play on the ball – is what the league classifies as a foul that occurs either “during a transition scoring opportunity or immediately after a change of possession and before the offensive team has had the opportunity to advance. the ball.” The exception is in the last 2 minutes of the fourth quarter or extra time.
The new penalty for such a foul is a free throw, which may be attempted by any player of the offending team in play at the time the foul occurred, and possession continues.
Silver touched on a number of other topics, including:
The NBA just had a massive financial year, with revenue exceeding $10 billion for the first time and basketball-related revenue hitting $8.9 billion, another record.
Silver said the numbers are especially high given the league is still dealing with a pandemic, and not too long ago some wondered if the sport could survive the virus — at least in the sense that people would like to come together again.
“The numbers surprised me to some extent because they exceeded projections, and the projections represent where we think our business is going,” Silver said. “I think it’s quite remarkable where we came from 2 and a half years ago.”
Kevin Durant is under contract for four more years with the Brooklyn Nets, and his trade request was one of the biggest stories of the offseason.
It’s not one that Silver particularly liked.
“It has to be a two-way street,” Silver said. “Teams provide huge security and safeguards to players, and in return they are expected to keep their end of the bargain. There are always conversations going on behind closed doors between players, representatives and teams, but we don’t like to see players asking for trades and we don’t like to see things go the way they are.”
The play-in tournament was generally considered a success, so it’s no surprise the league is keeping it going.
The play-in tournament – in its current form – has been used in each of the past two seasons, where the teams that finish seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th in the East and West meet to determine the last two playoff berths in each conference. .
The No. 7 team plays the No. 8 team, with the winner earning the No. 7 seed in the playoffs. Team #9 plays Team #10, with the loser being eliminated and the winner playing the team that lost the game 7-8. The winner of this match is the No. 8 seed.
It’s been a success, mostly because it tends to give a March madness feel – four playoff games before the playoffs even start – and encourages more teams not to tank for better lottery odds. of the draft.
There was also an element of play in 2020 in the Walt Disney World reboot bubble, when Portland beat Memphis for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. Memphis could have secured the No. 8 seed that year by beating Portland twice; the Blazers only needed to win one game to claim the spot.
Load management – the fancy term given now when a player can sit down during a game to rest – has been a challenge for the league and its teams in recent years. Silver said that would continue to be discussed with the players’ association as the parties enter negotiations for the next collective bargaining agreement.
The league has taken steps, driven by sleep science and other data, to try to make the schedule more player-friendly in recent years. Four-game-in-five-night streaks have been eliminated, back-to-back cases have plummeted, and the league has even tinkered with keeping teams in the same road city for back-to-back games in a bid to limit travel over the course of a season. .
That said, sometimes a player stays seated. Silver suggested it might be time to consider adding cash as an incentive to play more often.
“I’m all for guaranteed contracts,” Silver said. “But maybe in addition to your typical guaranteed contracts, additional money should be based on the number of games played and the results of those games. I mean, that’s how most industries operate. , where there are financial incentives – even among executives who are well paid for performance.”
The NBA and NBPA announced a new program — jointly funded — to provide payments to approximately 115 ABA players who played at least three seasons but did not qualify for NBA pensions. They will receive “recognition payments” of $3,828 per year of service.
“Our players have a genuine sense of appreciation for those who paved the way and helped us achieve the success we enjoy today,” said NBPA General Manager Tamika Tremaglio. “We have always considered ABA players part of our fraternity and we are proud to finally recognize them with this benefit.”
Silver said the league and the players “felt the need to act on behalf of these former ABA players who are aging and, in many cases, facing difficult economic circumstances.”
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