The league is trying different ways to save wear and tear on players without losing any revenue. One such idea is to shorten the game. Yet, there is more bad than good with that idea.
Members of the Phoenix Suns staff, at varying levels of the organization, are skeptical about the NBA's experiment with a 44-minute game. The NBA has sanctioned the Brooklyn Nets - Boston Celtics preseason game next week to run 11-minute quarters for a total of 44 minutes.
"I don't like the 44 minute game," coach Jeff Hornacek said before the San Antonio game. "I know that was discussed at the [coaches] meetings. I don't why you would shorten it. You have rosters up to 15 players, you dress thirteen of them, you have plenty of guys to play."
Indeed. One former Suns player said recently that "minutes are a player's most important commodity".
Players like Gerald Green and Isaiah Thomas, who combined for 102 starts last season, project to come off the bench for the Phoenix Suns this season. They already must face the likelihood of getting fewer minutes this season than last (28.4 and 34.7, respectively). If you shorten the game, the guys who will get fewer minutes are more likely the bench players, not the stars.
"The rest of the game is going to be more important," Hornacek said. "You're probably going to lean on the stars even more now because you don't have the time to make it up."
Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby echoed the same sentiment in an exclusive interview with Bright Side.
"I think if you have fewer minutes," he said, "The star players may play a greater percentage of those minutes because there's more at stake. I'm not sure it's the right solution."
A shorter game could squeeze out the middle class of the NBA.
Why would the NBA even consider shortening the game in the first place? The total dollars spent on salaries is predetermined in the CBA, so fewer minutes won't diminish those expenses.
The NBA, for their part, has not put a lot of messaging into the reasoning for the experiment. They mention improving the flow of the game and being forward-thinking, but the Suns' Babby applied a different possible benefit.
"Part of what we need to be focusing in is the health of the players," Babby said. "Whether the season is too long, or the games are too long, we've got to try to find ways to keep players healthier. And to that extent I support it. What I like about it is the willingness of the league to experiment and get ahead of the issues."
Babby expounded on the need for player health.
"For us, a related point is getting our players enough rest over the summer," he said. "We were vigilant in making sure the guys, young and old, were taking time off and that we were not working them too hard and they were not working themselves too hard.
"They have to get better over the summer, and we put an emphasis on player development, but they have to get some rest because the long term health of the players is the most important thing."
There is still no clear reasoning provided for the shorter game. Players don't like it. Coaches don't like it. And even front office folks are skeptical.
But if the desire of the players is to shorten the season to maintain their health, you can bet the owners would be much more amenable to shorter games than fewer games. Fewer games means fewer dollars.
"Let's be candid about it," Babby told Bright Side. "All of it's about the revenues that are generated from the games and whether or not there would have to be a diminution of the revenues in order to shorten the season.
"That's the balance. We now have 41 home games. If we had 30 we'd have less opportunities to create revenue and that's what drives everything in the business in terms of player salaries and everything else. Theoretically it's a good idea, but in practicality smarter people than me would have to figure out the math."
Ahh, the salaries. Fewer games means less revenues. Less revenues means lower salaries. Ergo, players won't ultimately push for fewer games if it impacts their bank accounts. Who would?
In fact, I'll float my own idea out there that would result in the owners and players making even more money rather than less. By cutting out 4 minutes per game, to get closer to college and international game length, a team would save three games worth of wear and tear on the players' bodies by the end of the season.
So why not lengthen the season by those three games, to an 85-game season? That way, players would end of with the same total minutes over the course of the season and the league could increase revenues at the same time.
It's all about the money, right?
Show up to your next meeting in style.
An interesting item here. Novelty ties are nothing new, but while many will feature a team or even a player, we have here a novelty tie celebrating an event. Preowned, this can be yours for less than 18 bucks, but the seller is taking offers, so try and get it for half. Next time you need to look professional, do it with this tie featuring Charles Barkley, Kevin Johnson, Tom Chambers, Richard Dumas, Danny Ainge, Dan Majerle and Paul Westphal. Too busy of a look? For a few more bucks you can celebrate Barkley's 1993 MVP year here.
Speaking of the Round Mound of Rebound, pass on the throwback jersey and catch some eyes in this vintage t-shirt. The Awesome Adventures of Charles Barkley can get a little complicated so let me summarize. He slams to the left, he slams to the right, or he'll come right at ya! 30 bucks and it's yours.
Never miss an opportunity to let others know where your NBAllegiances lie. This Phoenix Suns picnic basket includes two wine glasses, two porcelain plates, stainless steel flatware, and two napkins that match the basket's interior. It's made of willow with dark brown leatherette accents, and has full-wrapping closure straps, an overlapping lid, and sturdy suitcase-style leatherette handle. If you've got $151 burning a hole in your pocket it's yours.
If this were buy it now, I know exactly who would buy it. As it is, I hope it sees some bids, because this is pretty cool. The Ertl Company is an American toy company best known for its die-cast metal alloy collectible replicas of farm equipment and vehicles. This offering includes a key and features the old Pacific Division of Golden State, the Lakers, the Clippers, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, and Seattle. Bidding opens at $17.75, about 8 bucks to ship.
150 piece Gorilla puzzle in a can, the best break to any work day. Seller indicates the can has a small dent in the side, but the item is otherwise "like new." There's no mention of the puzzle missing pieces, though you may want to follow up. You can end the auction for a 5 dollar bill, though the shipping is a steep 13 bucks.
Bonus unrelated swag here. We featured an Amar'e Stoudemire locker in the past, so you picked up that one, grab this Boris Diaw locker to go with it. These were stadium giveaways in the 2006-07 season along with Shawn Marion, Raja Bell, and Steve Nash. As a bonus you get a never inflated Suns soccer ball. Bidding starts at $13, buy it now is $26, shipping is $10.55
The newest of Suns Swag here. 1000 lucky fans recently received these three playing cards courtesy of Budweiser, featuring Serene, Brooke, and Amy Jo of the 2014-15 Suns Dancers. 500 BTSOS Bonus Points if you can figure out a game to play with the 3 of spades, the King of clubs, and the 10 of clubs. Buy it now for 10 bucks, free shipping.
Socks! Celebrate one of your favorite Suns with this size medium, slightly faded Elliot Perry t-shirt. Perry was in Phoenix from 1993-1996, returning for a victory lap in the 2000-01 season. As a Sun Perry averaged 7.4 points and 4.1 assists in just under 20 minutes a game. For his career, Socks scored 6.3 points a game with seven different teams. Bidding starts at 5 bucks, another $5.50 to ship.
Buy this with the Socks shirt. Do it. The seller doesn't even know what they have here, this is listed as a Jared Dudley t-shirt. Josh Childress was in Phoenix for two seasons, appeared in 88 games, averaged 15.7 minutes a game, and how does this warrant a t-shirt? Who cares, pick it up for a 10 dollar bill after shipping.
The perfect addition to your 1993 NBA Finals tie. No buy it now available, bidding starts at 10 bucks, shipping is 3. I went ahead and took another look, yes, it will go great with the tie.
It's preseason, but Phoenix Suns managing partner Robert Sarver was sufficiently miffed at the San Antonio Spurs organization to take the microphone during a fourth quarter timeout to address the fans and offer a gift for their trouble.
The Spurs announced earlier this week that coach Gregg Popovich and stars Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili were too tired to travel for the NBA-sanctioned event, and that starters Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter would be out due to nagging injuries as well.
"This isn't the game you paid your hard-earned money to see," he said to the crowd with about four minutes left in the game.
Sarver went on to tell the fans mail him back their ticket stub and he would send them a gift. Surely, the Suns will follow up with a public announcement of the exact details of the offer in the coming days.
But it's only a preseason game! Who cares, right?
Remember this is the Spurs franchise that beat the Suns in the playoffs in 2005, 2007 and 2008 to stop what might otherwise have been the greatest era of Suns basketball if not for the guys from the Alamo.
When the Suns finally swept the Spurs in 2010, the catharsis appeared to be each team's swan song as they faded into that good night. The Suns were about to be broken up by free agency and age, while the Spurs were just getting old. Tell me if you're heard that one before.
All the while, as the maddeningly consistent Spurs have been to the playoffs for 6,232 straight seasons and won five championships with Tim Duncan (1999, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2014), the Spurs have rested their stars when they damn well felt like it.
Last season, in one of his final acts as commissioner, David Stern fined the Spurs $250,000 for keeping their stars out of a nationally televised game.
"The result here is dictated by the totality of the facts in this case. The Spurs decided to make four of their top players unavailable for an early-season game that was the team's only regular-season visit to Miami. The team also did this without informing the Heat, the media, or the league office in a timely way. Under these circumstances, I have concluded that the Spurs did a disservice to the league and our fans."
As far back as 2005, Suns owner Robert Sarver has been frustrated with the Spurs for resting their stars in what many considered a big game. The Suns were the young upstart while the Spurs were the proven leaders. (sound familiar?). Sarver famously walked down the sideline making flapping his arms like chicken wings at coach Gregg Popovich.
"Our fans pay a lot of money," he said at the time. "Everyone was expecting a big-time game. I was disappointed."
That didn't stop Popovich from strategically resting his starters against the Suns, and other teams, in subsequent years. But it's been nine years since Sarver reacted so publicly.
Be on the lookout for details of the gift promotion for fans who attended the Thursday game, as compensation for putting up with the Spurs failing to bring their A team.
Here's (That's me sitting in the row right behind him as he grabs the mic. Not in the freeze frame. Once you start the video.)
And here's the mailing address: US Airways Center, 201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, AZ, 85004.