OAKLAND — In a wide-ranging interview, NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke for nearly 30 minutes before the Warriors played the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.
When asked if a fourth-straight Warriors-Cavaliers matchup in The Finals is good for the NBA, Silver said that the league is striving for parity — and a hard cap is something that could be discussed.
“You still have two teams that are significantly above not just the cap but the tax,” Silver said. “So one of presumably the elements that creates a bit more parity in the NFL, one of the factors other than the game, is they have a so-called hard cap. We don’t have that. Now, it’s something that we’ll continue to look at.”
As for the Philadelphia 76ers investigation into president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, whom The Ringer linked to five separate Twitter accounts, some of which disclosed non-public information and put down players, coaches and front office members around the league, Silver said league wants to sort out the facts.
“You have to separate sort of the chatter and sort of what either fans or, frankly, the media are saying from the facts,” Silver said. “And the first thing we have to do here is determine what the actual facts are in this circumstance.”
In terms of the Supreme Court clearing the way in May for states to legalize sports betting, Silver said the NBA deserves some of that profit.
“We feel, just in the same way a musician that receives a royalty for the music that’s being played, that we should receive some sort of royalty,” Silver said. “So call it a royalty; call it an integrity fee. We will haveadditional expenses, and it’s ultimately our intellectual property and we ultimately believe we should becompensated for it.”
When asked about the NBA’s national anthem policy, which requires players to stand, Silver pointed out that the rule “precedes David Stern,” adding that it hasn’t been an issue in the NBA the same way as it has in the NFL.
“Frankly, it’s been a different dialogue in the NBA than it’s been in the NFL,” Silver said. “Again, I’m only an observer in terms of what I see and read about what’s happening in the NFL. But our emphasis at least has been on constructive activities in our communities. There has been no discussion with our Players Association about changing our existing rule.”
Silver also weighed in on whether the league is progressing toward any changes to it’s one-and-done policy.
“Our teams are on both sides of it,” Silver said. “I think 11 years ago or so, when we went from 18 to 19 as a minimum age, it was driven not just by a league view, but by player view, too, that we were a better league by having these young men spend a year outside the home before they came into the league. It’s not just basketball experience. They’re a little bit more mature. They’ve been out of the home.
“On the other hand, I think now that we have a G League and a development league, we’re in a different position where we can be more directly involved in the development of those young men. So that’s something I look at.”
Silver also responded to the idea that the league should reduce the number of games to potentially cut down on injuries to players, saying that there’s a financial incentive to keep the status quo but that he’s open to discussions on this issue.
“If we had any data, hard data suggesting that a season that was 75 games or 72 games instead of 82 games would reduce injuries other than just playing fewer games, we’d be taking a hard look at shortening our season,” Silver said. “We just don’t have that data right now.”
But the highlight of Silver’s interview had nothing to do with basketball. It happened when a reporter asked him to comment on LeBron James’ shorts suit that he wore to the game.
Said Silver: “I’m behind a podium, so you can’t see mine.”