NBA, teams dis­cuss short­en­ing sea­son

Times Standard (Eureka) - - SPORTS -

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.

Ten­nis

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.

Pro foot­ball

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.

Col­lege foot­ball

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.”

Baseball

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.

Skiing

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.

Golf

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.

Olympics

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.

JAE C. HONG — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS, FILE

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.

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