NBA step­ping up in sup­port of eas­ing the sched­ule

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

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.

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