On one hand, marquee NBA players taking a night off toward the end of the season benefits fans because it (presumably) increases the likelihood that those players will be healthy and ready for the playoffs. On the other hand, imagine paying to go see the Cleveland Cavaliers play the Los Angeles Clippers and seeing the defending champs wheel out exactly zero All-Stars. That’d be like buying a ticket to go see Logan only to find they’re showing a version that has edited out all the scenes with Wolverine.
Luckily, the NBA’s one-man think tank is around to offer up a solution to the problem — a problem that, thus far, can only be addressed with sternly worded letters from the league’s commissioner.
Jeff Van Gundy’s plan is to shorten the season.
“Maybe 82 games doesn’t suffice anymore and so I’m for a shortened season,” he told The Dan Patrick Show. “To me, though, you have to be willing to take less money if you are a player, an owner, a coach or a GM for the shorter season. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t get paid for 82 games and show up for 70.”
Van Gundy’s approach makes sense as a rest deterrent on multiple levels, as fewer games not only limits wear and tear, but also makes every game that much more important, disincentivizing intentionally shorthanded lineups on any given night. That being said, no one — owners, sponsors or players — will agree to a shortened season if it means less money, so JVG’s idea might not be ready for implementation quite yet (unless fans heed Charles Barkley’s advice and start boycotting games).
Watch the interview, below…