Silver to pursue Hack-a-Shaq reform
With the NBA Finals tipping off at Oracle Arena on Thursday, commissioner Adam Silver held his annual pre-Finals media conference.
Here are some of the highlights from that gathering:
On whether the NBA's set a line-in-the-sand date for changes in North Carolina
Silver: "I don't see we would get past this summer without knowing definitively where we stand," Silver said later in the conference, after originally stating that there is no line in the sand.
Silver added that the league is looking at alternative host cities should the 2017 All-Star Game need to be moved from Charlotte.
"I'd say there is absolutely strong interest in trying to work something out. I think they realize that we very much would like to play next year's All-Star Game in North Carolina, as I've said before. We, of course, have a team in Charlotte, North Carolina. So we as a league want to make sure there is an environment where the LGBT community feels protected down in North Carolina.
"I think there are other fundamental issues that I think if we can work through with the community to ensure those basic protections are given to the LGBT community. I think if we can make progress there, we will see you all in Charlotte next February."
On the often criticized Last Two-Minute Reports
Silver: "I'd say the Last Two-Minute Report, we do to be as transparent as possible with the public in terms of how we think critical moments of the game are being officiated. We're in the second year of our Last Two-Minute Reports, and I still remain strongly behind them."
On how close the league is to Hack-a-Shaq reform
Silver: "I think you all know it is my hope that we are not far away from some reform. This is an issue where I'm hoping we can strike some sort of a compromise.
"What we've seen even since last year is a two-and-a-half times increase of the number of these off-ball fouls, away-from-the-ball fouls, intentional fouls. Looking back just even at the last five years, it's now up 16 times from five years ago.
"There was an acknowledgment (in 1978) that it doesn't look good in the last two minutes and it unnecessarily prolongs the game and adds an unattractive element. So now the question is can we take that rule and maybe we don't put it in effect for 48 minutes, but we look at other aspects of the game moving toward a compromise to at least cut it down significantly."
On the CBA, which owners and players can opt out of next year
Silver: "I think there are aspects of the collective bargaining agreement that both sides would like to see addressed, and we're engaged in constructive discussions over how we can find ways to make the system even better."
On parity in the NBA
Silver: "I think we're never going to have NFL-style parity in this league. It is the nature of this league that certain players are so good that those teams are likely almost automatic - if that player remains healthy - to become playoff teams and especially mixed with other great players.
"But having said that, there are still additional things we think we can do that will further encourage strong competition throughout the league. One fantastic trend I believe we're seeing in the league, and you saw it with the Western Conference Finals, Oklahoma City has the smallest market in the league, has the exact same ability to put together a fantastic team and create culture just like a team from the Bay Area, and just in the same way that Cleveland does with the Toronto team. And I think that was one of our goals in the last collective bargaining agreement."
Comparing Curry's 402 3-pointers to the four-minute mile
Silver: "I was thinking about it, in some ways maybe that's like when Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile. I mean, it's something that just a few years ago people thought wouldn't be done. And the reason I'm comparing him to Roger Bannister is when Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile, it wasn't something that then nobody touched for another 20 years. Shortly thereafter others broke that barrier. And my sense is that Steph and together with Klay what they're doing when it comes to 3-point shooting, they've overcome a psychological barrier, I think, for a lot of players who just never thought the kind of shots they would make were possible."