Silver open to shortening season: 'There's nothing magical about 82'

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports / Action Images

NBA commissioner Adam Silver prefers sensible change over clutching onto outdated tradition.

Silver explained he's willing to adjust the length of the regular season - down from 82 games - if that would allow players to better endure the threat of injury, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

"There’s nothing magical about 82 games," Silver explained. "It’s been in place for 50 years, but for the long-term planning of the league, as we learn more about the human body and the wear and tear of travel and the competitive landscape ... invariably we’ll look at the regular season."

Franchises are increasingly resting players in order to maximize production and minimize injuries, which suggests the traditional 82-game setup is impractical. This issue of rest became a thorn in the league's side as teams rest marquee players in marquee games on marquee networks, although recent league legislation has introduced new penalties against that practice.

Solving the issue of rest wouldn't be the only impetus for shortening the season. Silver sees fewer games - and therefore more time to travel to distant markets - as a potential path to international expansion.

"We can play games in China and Europe, or occasional preseason games as a one-off, but under existing airline technology, the planes aren’t fast enough to at least play in the current framework of our regular season," Silver said.

"(But) it may be something we’ll be looking at over the coming years, is what a regular season schedule look like a decade from now."

Cutting down the schedule for any reason, however, would face some major hurdles. Reducing the number of games would presumably reduce revenues, and therefore this idea would be a tough sell for owners who ultimately decide on the structure of the league.