NBA, teams discuss shortening season
A person familiar with the negotiations says the NBA is working with the players’ union and its teams on a plan to shorten the regular season, possibly to 78 games.
They also are considering a change to the playoff seeding and the addition of a midyear tournament for all 30 clubs in time for the 2021-22 season. The shortened season would allow ways for teams to make up the revenue from lost home dates.
The person adds that the NBA intends to present the proposal to the league’s board of governors in April for discussion and possibly ratification. NBA broadcast partners ESPN and Turner Sports also are involved in the talks.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has long been a proponent of an in-season tournament, and the notion of changing the playoff seeding has been talked about for some time as well.
ESPN reported the proposal includes a plan to reseed the playoffs after early rounds, potentially creating an NBA Finals between teams from the same conference.
JAZZ ARENA EVACUATED POSTGAME DUE TO SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE » About 15 minutes after the end of an NBA game Friday night, the Utah Jazz’s home arena was evacuated because of a suspicious package.
Salt Lake City police say the package turned out to be a toolbox, and the Jazz say employees were cleared by authorities to re-enter the building a couple of hours after the evacuation.
Most fans had already exited Vivint Smart Home Arena following Utah’s 113109 victory over the Golden State Warriors when players, coaches and reporters were instructed to leave immediately.
CELTICS’ SMART UNHAPPY WITH RESPONSE TO DENVER FAN INCIDENT » The NBA is investigating an incident between Boston guard Marcus Smart and a fan in Denver, after the Celtics guard said he heard a derogatory comment and was unhappy with the way that he believed security in the arena responded to the matter.
Smart said a fan told him to “get on your knees” after he pursued a loose ball along the sideline during Friday’s game in Denver. Smart said one of his feet got tangled in frame of a courtside chair, and while he was trying to free himself he heard the comment.
“The fan told me, ‘That’s right, stay on the ground, get on your knees,’” Smart told reporters postgame Friday night. “Excuse me? I just told him, ‘Listen, just watch the game because if we retaliate to you guys and if we were on the street, I guarantee you wouldn’t say that.”
Smart said security at Denver’s Pepsi Center essentially ignored him. At least one security guard was seen speaking to fans in that section moments after the fourth-quarter incident, but it was unclear if any further action was taken.
SPAIN BEATS BRITAIN TO FACE CANADA IN DAVIS CUP FINAL » Rafael Nadal won his singles and doubles in leading Spain to a 2-1 comeback win over Britain to put the hosts back in the Davis Cup final.
Nadal and Feliciano López defeated Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (8) in the decisive doubles to secure Spain its first final since 2012.
Spain, a five-time champion, will play first-time finalist Canada in the climax of the revamped Davis Cup on Sunday.
STEELERS QB RUDOLPH FINED $50,000 » Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph was fined $50,000 by the NFL for his involvement in a brawl that began when Browns defensive end Myles Garrett hit him over the head with a helmet. Rudolph was one of 33 players fined by the league.
Garrett was indefinitely suspended by the league for ripping off Rudolph’s helmet and using it “as a weapon” in the final seconds of Cleveland’s 21-7 win over Pittsburgh last week. Garrett’s appeal was denied earlier this week, when he told appeals officer James Thrash that Rudolph used a racial slur against him.
Rudolph wrestled with Garrett and attempted to pull off the Pro Bowler’s helmet before charging at him and then being struck on the top of the head.
The league also fined the Steelers and Browns $250,000 apiece. They play again Dec. 1 in Pittsburgh.
HARVARD-YALE GAME DELAYED BY STUDENT PROTEST » Protesters wearing the colors of both Harvard and Yale staged a sit-in at midfield of Yale Bowl during halftime of the 136th edition of the annual football rivalry known as The Game. Most walked off after about an hour with a police escort; about 2030 who remained were arrested.
A few dozen protesters initially trickled onto the field as the Yale band finished performing its halftime routine, some holding a banner asking the schools’ presidents to divest from the fossil fuel industry. Other signs referred to Puerto Rican debt and the treatment of the Uighurs.
Yale officials said in a statement handed to reporters in the press box during the fourth quarter that the school “stands firmly for the right to free expression.”
CUBS ACQUIRE PITCHER COTTON FROM A’S » The Chicago Cubs acquired pitcher Jharel Cotton from the Oakland A’s for $100,000.
The 27-year-old righthander missed the 2018 season because of an elbow injury during spring training that required Tommy John surgery. Cotton is 1110 with a 4.95 ERA in 29 career games, all starts, for Oakland in 2016-17.
SHIFFRIN TRIUMPHS FOR RECORD 41ST WORLD CUP SLALOM WIN » Mikaela Shiffrin has set the all-time World Cup record for most slalom wins by any skier after earning her 41st career victory in the discipline at the season-opening race.
The American beat the 32-year-old best mark from Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark, who won 40 slaloms between 1974 and 1987. Shiffrin amassed her total in just seven years, having won her first race in December 2012.
Track and field
KIPCHOGE, US HURDLER MUHAMMAD NAMED WORLD ATHLETES OF YEAR » Pioneering marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge and U.S. hurdler Dalilah Muhammad have been named the world athletes of the year in track and field.
Kipchoge wins the men’s accolade after becoming the first man to run a subtwo hour marathon, even though that feat wasn’t officially recognized as a world record.
Muhammad took the women’s honors after winning world championship gold in the 400-meter hurdles in world-record time.
KIM CLINGS TO 1-SHOT LEAD » Sei Young Kim had only one birdie on the back nine and held on for a 4-under 68 and a one-shot lead over Nelly Korda, who made a charge going into the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship with the richest prize ever in women’s golf on the line.
Kim was at 16-under 200 and will be in the final group with Korda. At stake is $1.5 million to the winner.
EMBATTLED RUSSIAN TRACK PRESIDENT RESIGNS » The president of the Russian track and field federation has resigned two days after he was accused of obstructing an anti-doping investigation using fake medical documents.
Dmitry Shlyakhtin told an emergency federation conference in Moscow that he was stepping down. He was already provisionally suspended pending a full hearing on the charges from the Athletics Integrity Unit.
A politically well-connected regional sports minister, Shlyakhtin took office in January 2016 pledging to overturn Russia’s suspension from international track events due to widespread doping.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a news conference on Oct. 8 in Saitama, Japan. A person familiar with the negotiations says the NBA is working with the players’ union and its teams on a plan to shorten the regular season, possibly to 78games.