NBA stepping up in support of easing the schedule
What’s up: The NBA and NBA Players Association are closing in on a new collective bargaining agreement, which, according to an ESPN report, will in part go even further to ensure players aren’t playing 82 games stuffed into a short amount of time.
Background: For the better part of the last decade, NBA players have moaned, with good reason, about the demands of an 82-game schedule. Back-to-back games were a taxing fact of life. Four games in five nights was an exasperating scheduling hazard to navigate. Teams started randomly resting players to preserve their bodies for playoff pushes in the regular season and playoff runs in the postseason. Fans were losing in the exchange because the product suffered with so many players out due to injuries or were just plain gypped out of paying money to see stars who were told to sit. The NBA listened and worked to reduce back-to-backs and have all but eliminated four games in five night schedules. Those will be a thing of the past soon.
Dempsey’s take: The NBA deserves credit for listening to its players and truly taking their concerns to heart. To wit: This season, four-in-fives were cut to 20 total, which was a 26 percent reduction from last season. Back-to-backs were cut to 16.3 per team this season, down from 17.8 a season ago. It is the best, most common sense solution to the problem. Next? Reducing an already-too-long preseason schedule.