Warriors coach Steve Kerr suggests moving to 72-game schedule to combat player rest issue


Earlier this week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed reporters at a news conference following the league’s Board of Governors meetings. He touched on a number of topics, but perhaps the most notable was the “trend of star players not participating in a full complement of games.”

“I’m not standing here saying I have a great solution,” Silver said. “Part of the issue is injuries. One of the things we have focused on at the league office and we’re spending — we had begun to spend a lot of time on pre-pandemic — are there things we can do in terms of sharing information, resources around the league to improve best practices, rehabilitation, et cetera?

“The other way we can get at it, in terms of player participation, is creating other incentives,” Silver continued. “I mean, it may be — the play-in tournament I thought was a beginning of creating renewed incentives for teams to remain competitive and be fighting for playoff position. It may be through in-season tournaments and changes in format where we can get at it.”

Figuring out a balance between keeping players healthy and putting the best possible product on the floor on a night-to-night basis has been one of the main focuses for Silver during his tenure. This is not the first time he has brought up the topic, and it will not be the last. 

On Saturday, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr weighed in and echoed a suggestion that many fans and media members have thrown out: shorten the season. 

“To me what makes the most sense is cutting back to maybe a 72 game schedule,” Kerr said. “Take 10 games off and get more time to rest in between games. I think you’ll get teams to play their guys more often.”

Reducing the number of games would help keep players healthy, make each game more meaningful and competitive and decrease the likelihood of players sitting out. The obvious counter to the idea, however, is that owners are not going to want to get rid of games and home dates for their arenas, nor would anyone want to take a pay cut. 

To that point it’s worth noting that Silver himself touched on the possibility and did not completely rule it out. 

“I also have said in the past, if we have too many games, that’s something we should look at as well,” Silver 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.”

Again, the potential monetary issues created by cutting back on some games could be a real sticking point. But if coaches are on board and the commissioner wants to have a conversation, it appears to be a possibility and is something to keep an eye on down the road. 

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