This past spring’s Spurs-Clippers first-round epic might very well be the last time we see two such strong teams squaring off in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs. That’s because commissioner Adam Silver and the Competition Committee met in Las Vegas during Summer League action and decided the top eight teams would be ranked by how they finished in their Conference rather than their division.
“The recommendation from the Competition Committee is that we should seed one through eight based on conference standings for the playoffs,” Silver said, per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports.
Lasts year, the Spurs could have finished with the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, but a final night loss to the Pelicans catapulted the Pellies into the first round, and dropped San Antonio all the way back to the No. 6 seed and a first-round date with the Clippers — all this despite the Grizzlies and Spurs finishing with a better record than the Blazers, who captured the No. 4 seed for winning the division. But that’s likely done for good now.
While the change hasn’t officially been voted on yet, Sterling says the owners will ask their GMs and coaches about it first, but he expects it to be passed before next season.
Conversely, the NBA’s free-agency moratorium, which usually lasts 7-10 days at the beginning of July, will continue to be in place despite the rather loud splash DeAndre Jordan made when he recanted his verbal agreement with the Mavericks during the moratorium — when no official documents can be signed — to re-sign with the Clippers. Despite the detritus that resulted after DJ’s renege, it doesn’t look like the NBA has a plan in place to block future flip-flops.
“I think there was some discussion on whether the moratorium should be a bit shorter,” Silver said. “It’s an imperfect system and we think we are finding the right balance between teams having the opportunity to talk to players when they become free agents and creating certainty at some point when contracts are entered into.”
Despite everyone’s enjoyment at the emoji-heavy whirlwind when the moratorium ended, DJ’s change of heart didn’t give Dallas much of a backup plan, and cast a pallor of nonsense over the whole proceedings. While it was fun for the kids who make up the NBA Twitterati, the old guard was disgusted with the whole thing and calls to overhaul the moratorium period came in rapid succession. But while Sterling acknowledged a breakdown in the system, attempts to amend the moratorium window are still a long way off.
“From a personal standpoint, it’s not a great look,” Silver said. “It’s not what we want to see happen in the moratorium period. It wasn’t created so players could enter into in essence oral agreements only to have those agreements superseded by binding agreements. Of course, under our Collective Bargaining Agreement there is no disputing that only a signed agreement is a binding one when the moratorium starts. I don’t think anybody is questioning that. But there was a breakdown in the system.”