The NBA’s Board of Governors passed down a number of rule changes today. While none of them are game-changing, most are intended to smooth out and streamline various parts of the game. Let’s take a look at the numerous changes and how they will affect the league:
Trade deadline moved
In years past, the trade deadline was scheduled after the all-star break. Just last season, a move was made to send all-star center DeMarcus Cousins from Sacramento to New Orleans immediately after the All-Star Game.
From the NBA’s press release:
“The Board of Governors approved moving the trade deadline from the Thursday after the NBA All-Star Game to the Thursday 10 days before the All-Star Game. With the new placement of the trade deadline, teams will be able to settle their rosters before the All-Star break and avoid the disruptions that result from players joining new teams just as practices and games are beginning to resume following the All-Star break.”
This year, the trade deadline will fall on February 8th.
This may result in an interest scenario in which an all-star is traded to the other conference right before the All-Star Game. Another impact this may have is that executives have usually used the All-Star break to discuss trades while rubbing elbows. Now, that dynamic is gone.
This is mainly intended to facilitate smooth transitions, unlike the Cousins experiment last year. It will upset some executives, but players will be grateful to avoid trade questions during the All-Star break.
Timeouts reduced, game flow enhanced
The specifics are complicated, but let’s parse out the impactful changes made to timeout usage.
- Total timeouts have been reduced from 18 to 14; each team will have seven time outs per half
- All tim outs are now 75 seconds. Before, there were 90-second “full” time outs, and 20-second “short” time outs
- Each quarter will have a mandatory tim out after the seven- and three-second marks; the under-nine minute timeout has been removed
- Each team will be limited to two timeouts after the second mandatory stoppage (AKA the under-three minute timeout)
- Each team can enter the fourth quarter with up to four timeouts
- Overtime timeouts have been reduced from three to two
Additionally, the NBA has made rule changes with the goal of enhancing the “game flow:”
- A delay-of-game warning (or, on second violation, a technical) will be issued if a free throw shooter travels beyond the three-point line
- Half times are now capped at 15 minutes. The timer begins once the first half ends. If a team is not ready after the timer is up, they will be assessed a delay-of-game penalty.
These rules are intended to facilitate the end of games, which tend to bog down if the score is close. Additionally, the new timeout rules will make it easier for NBA broadcasts to smoothly move in and out of the action as necessary. This rule change is a win for everybody — except for the coaches and players.
Season starting earlier
In addition to these rule changes, Adam Silver mentioned that the season will begin about two weeks early:
While speaking of the move of the trade deadline to Feb. 8, Adam Silver mentioned that the season will open Oct. 17.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) July 12, 2017
It remains to be seen how this will affect pre- and post-season games. The NBA has discussed shortening the pre-season before, so it seems likely that they’ll follow through with it this season.
This also likely reduces the number of back-to-backs and generally lightens the load on the player and helps teams’ travel schedules. Anything that reduces injuries and fatigues is a win in my book.
The NBA has another reason to stretch out their schedule. They want players at their best when the lights are brightest:
One more sked wrinkle: league trying hard to have teams in marquee national TV games (ABC Saturday) both coming off a rest day, sources say.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 12, 2017