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Silver: League will look into rules changes in offseason

Commissioner hopes to have resolution on North Carolina soon; also touches on hack-a-Shaq and other key issues before Game 1

POSTED: Jun 2, 2016 11:03 PM ET

By Steve Aschburner

BY Steve Aschburner


GameTime: Adam Silver

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

— The takeaway from NBA commissioner Adam Silver's annual pre-Finals news conference is that the league's Competition Committee has its work cut out for it this summer.

From the way players increasingly flail their arms and kick their legs to "sell" punishable contact, to a growing tedium of Hack-a-Whomever tactics that lead to the low entertainment of bricked throws, Silver's session in the hour before tipoff of Game 1 Thursday was heavy on basketball discussion, from the many things going right to some of the nagging areas in need of addressing.

For instance, those away-from-the-ball fouls that send Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond to the line with the idea they'll miss -- Silver didn't name the three centers but mentioned that three players' teams are disproportionately affected -- is undesirable both as a business and a sport. "Not only is that something that is bad for our network partners," Silvers said, "but for all of the fan research we have shows that the fans hate it."

Use of the strategy has increased "16 times from five years ago." Said Silver: "It is my hope that we are not far away from some reform."

Among the topics Silver touched on that kept his media availability from being a complete hoops clinic were the comments about the significant rise in the salary cap coming this offseason (business is good), a distinction between "parity" and "equality of opportunity" as the league's standard for competitiveness, and the concerns still in play for the NBA over its choice of Charlotte for the 2017 All-Star Game next February.

The debate in North Carolina is over legislation that, as written, allegedly discriminates against members of the LGBT community while striving to ensure others' privacy and religious-freedom rights. In April, after the spring Board of Governors meeting in New York, Silver resisted pressure on the NBA to take a stand by pulling the All-Star Game, similar to the way artists such as Bruce Springsteen opted to cancel concerts in the state.

The league continues to monitor the efforts of business and political leaders in North Carolina to find some compromise. Silver said the core issue has moved away from the gender-identity/bathroom use arguments that have garnered much of the national attention, focusing more on "basic protection of individual rights" of LGBT citizens.

"There is no line in the sand," Silver said. He emphasized the NBA's "core principle" of diversity inclusion. When pressed for a deadline by which a decision would need to be made in moving a vast, multimillion dollar operation such as All-Star Weekend, Silver said: "I don't see we would get past this summer without knowing definitively where we stand."

With Draymond Green participating in The Finals with Golden State, Green's Flagrant 2 foul for kicking Oklahoma City's Steven Adams in the groin in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals was fresh in everyone's mind. Silver said the league has tracked an increase in such plays. "Dis-incentivizing players from any potential non-basketball move that could result in injuring another competitor" is on the Competition Committee's agenda this summer.

The Last Two-Minute Reports, officiating reviews generated from games with margins of five points or less, are valued in the name of transparency and consistency. Same with the use of instant replay, Silver said. "It's our hope that you take the Last Two-Minute Reports together with using a certain amount of replay, that we're building trust and integrity in the league," he said.

GameTime: Adam Silver Greets the Media

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

In his opening comments, in addition to praising both the Warriors and the Cavaliers organizations, Silver complimented Oklahoma City and Toronto for their seasons in reaching the conference finals. Then he lavished particular praise on Stephen Curry, who won his second consecutive Kia Most Valuable Player award for Golden State. Curry not only broke his one-year-old record for 3-pointers in a season, 286, he smashed through the 300 ceiling and wound up with 402.

Silver compared that milestone threshold to Roger Bannister running a mile in less than four minutes, a sporting event in England in 1954 that stunned the world.

"When Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile, it wasn't something that then nobody touched it for another 20 years," the commissioner said. "Shortly thereafter others broke that barrier. And my sense is that Steph and together with Klay [Thompson], what they're doing is when it comes to 3-point shooting, they've overcome a psychological barrier."

Asked later if the shot has become too common and might merit a deeper distance -- there's another bullet point for the Competition Committee -- the way the NBA has tweaked rules in the past, Silver said: "Not anytime soon." He said he doesn't believe the current 3-point line favors only Curry or a few others.

As for former NBA players who have been critical of Curry and his ability to thrive back when they played, Silver wrote it off to those people being fans of the game like so many others.

"Clearly there are some people who weigh in who may be bitter," Silver said. "Some not. Some genuinely have a point of view. Some are not as well-informed. Some may not be watching as much of the game but still have a view anyway.

"I enjoy it."

Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

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