Doc Rivers, Gregg Popovich react to proposal to shorten schedule, add in-season tournament
The NBA sent teams around the league a series of sweeping proposals on Friday, including considerations for a 78-game regular season beginning in 2021 as well as an in-season tournament that would result in a $1 million payout (per player) for the champion.
Head coaches throughout the NBA have been reacting in a variety of fashions. Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers stated that he likes the current schedule the way that it is, but also acknowledged that the league appears to be trying the “soccer model” and that he would try to “stay open-minded” about the possible changes (via Mark Medina of USA TODAY Sports):
Rivers called the NBA’s proposal for an in-season tournament that would also shorten the league’s schedule from 82 games to 78 “interesting.” But it sounds like Rivers likes the schedule the way it is.
“I like our league now, but I think they’re looking at the soccer model,” Doc Rivers said. “They did it and it’s worked for them. I try to stay open-minded with all of this stuff. I don’t have an opinion yet.”
Longtime San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was far more terse in his response. He has repeatedly stated that he has no input on these matters because the league will do what they want, and he reiterated that stance again:
“I don’t think about it. I really don’t,” Gregg Popovich said. “You have no control. Whatever they do, they do and I’ll live with it.”
The NBA has been searching for new ways to innovate with respect to the schedule. The 2021-22 season will mark the 75th in league history, and Commissioner Adam Silver is intent on marking the occasion with something different as he seeks new ways to grow the game.