Report: The NBA Thought About Relegating Tanking Teams To The G League Before Deciding That’s A Bad Idea

Adam Silver is not a fan of tanking. This is one of the constants from his time as the NBA’s commissioner — Silver does not like when teams are purposely uncompetitive in an effort to increase their odds in the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery. And in a recent meeting between Silver and employees of the Phoenix Suns, the commissioner apparently floated one example of how seriously the league takes the issue.

According to Baxter Holmes of ESPN, Silver claimed that tanking has sparked “hundreds” of meetings and expressed that the NBA is “going to be paying particular attention to the issue this year.” The 2023 NBA Draft is viewed as a potentially all-time great draft, with a pair of players at the top in Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson who are viewed as franchise-changing prospects.

An extreme way to try and change this, per Silver, is the adaptation of a concept that exists in European soccer: promotion and relegation. And ultimately, Silver expressed that using the G League like this would be a bad idea for the NBA.

“It would so disrupt our business model,” Silver said, per Holmes. “And even if you took two teams up from the G League, they wouldn’t be equipped to compete in the NBA.”

It is funny to imagine a scenario where the NBA, so desperate to get rid of tanking, replaces the Los Angeles Lakers with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants or something like that. At the same time, that exact, plausible scenario is why this will never happen, but regardless, if Silver is throwing out promotion and relegation as the sort of idea the NBA would consider, it seems like a safe bet that something big is coming down the line.