NBA’s new rules may quicken pace
LAS VEGAS — The NBA wants to see its games go a bit more quickly.
The league’s board of governors on Wednesday unanimously approved some rule changes that will potentially eliminate four timeouts per game, help speed up the closing minutes of games and emphasize quick resumption of play after halftime.
The changes all go into effect starting this coming season.
Teams will be limited to two timeouts in the final three minutes of a game, instead of having up to three. All four quarters will have two mandatory timeouts, after the seven- and three-minute marks.
“We’re pretty happy with the length of the game,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said.
“We were more focused on the pace and flow of the game. What we heard from our fans, what we heard from many of our teams, was that the end of the games in particular were too choppy. And I think since I was a kid, that was an issue people were talking about, the last two minutes of games.”
Silver said the full complement of TV commercial opportunities will still be available to the league’s broadcast partners, and that the league doesn’t believe player in-game rest will be affected by speeding up some aspects.
Also, all halftimes will be 15 minutes and delay-ofgame penalties will be issued if teams are not ready to immediately play when the intermission ends.
“These changes will help us fulfill our goal of improving game flow and pace of play,” NBA president of league operations Byron Spruell said.
“Fewer stoppages and less time without action, especially at the end of a game, will further enhance the viewing experience for our fans.”
The league also changed the trade deadline, moving it up so teams would not have their rosters significantly altered during the All-Star break.
This season’s deadline will be Feb 8 — 10 days before the All-Star Game in Los Angeles. Under the old system the deadline would have been Feb 22, when teams are getting ready to resume their seasons after the break.
“It was something we’ve discussed for several years,” Silver said, adding that, if an All-Star is traded cross-conference before the game, decisions on what to do will be made on a case-by-case basis.
The NBA’s competition committee unanimously recommended the rule changes to the board of governors. It also considered making other tweaks — such as the oft-criticized play where so many shooting fouls are now called on 3-point attempts, often when the offending contact there seems to be initiated by the offensive player.
But no changes are coming at this point.