Adam Silver is overseeing his first major event as commissioner this weekend as the NBA's All-Star Game hits New Orleans.
The weekend is a community relations bonanza for the NBA as the players will hit the community for the league's annual day of service later today, and it is also a major weekend for the league's corporate sponsors and advertisers. The showcase game of the league's best players is where a whole lot of business gets done.
And this is Silver's first time in the lead chair.
What will Silver's focus be in the next three days as he oversees his league's premier in-season event? Plenty.
Adam Silver has come out publicly in favor of increasing the age limit from its current 19 years old or one year out of high school to 20 years old or two years out of high school, most recently doing so in an interview with Sam Amick of USA TODAY. The rash of one-and-done players has been a boon and a blessing. It has allowed teams a year to look at players against better competition, but has continued a stream of players who may not be emotionally or athletically ready for the NBA.
The Draft remains a crap shoot when it comes to these freshmen, just less of one than it was when high school players were involved.
We believe the additional year of maturity would be meaningful. And increasingly, I've been told by many NBA coaches that one of the issues with the younger guys coming into the league is they've never had an opportunity to lead. By having come directly out of their first year of college, those are the moments in their lives where…they were put in positions as upper classmen, where they first learned how to lead teammates. And ultimately, if you look at our most successful teams, they're successful because they play as a team and I think that's one of the beauties of this game is that it's such an interesting mix of team play and at the same time individual (skill).
Silver wants to see a 20-year-old age limit put in place, it just depends on whether the union does too.
Speaking of the union, one thing that almost certainly will happen this week is that Silver will have a negotiating counterpart as the NBPA is expected to name its new executive director this week. Magic player representative Arron Afflalo confirmed to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel this will be something that is discussed and they hope to have new leadership in place soon.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports Screen Actors Guild executive director David White has emerged as the Players' Association's favorite to replace Billy Hunter.
This, of course, means two parties who were not part of the negotiations for the current collective bargaining agreement. True, Silver played a large role next to David Stern so he is more familiar with the issues surrounding the NBA and the NBPA.
It is only a few more years until the parties can opt out of the collective bargaining agreement. It is still unclear, just three years into this deal, what each side thinks of the league's position. There will be a new round of negotiations coming up soon as the sides determine if they want to extend this collective bargaining deal.
David Stern long has had the dream of expanding the NBA into Europe full time. Like actually teams in Europe. A whole European division.
Silver has echoed these dreams and it is something the league will continue to explore. No American sports league has the same woldwide impact or popularity. And the league wants to continue to grow that.
Expansion is the next logical step. So Silver will be looking into helping European cities build the infrastructure to match the NBA business model while continuing to grow the game. It is something on the agenda for his time as commissioner.
So expansion is on the table.
Just not for Seattle. It seems Silver is thinking much bigger if the NBA is going to expand. From Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com:
Seattle is a wonderful market. It would be very additive to the league to have a team there. But we're not planning on expanding right now, so it's not a function of price.
This leaves fans of the Sonics out in the cold. For Seattle to get a team, they will have to take one from another city. Seattle-ites probably do not like that thought one bit. But they know that is what will have to happen to "Save Our Sonics."
As Mark Cuban said in that interview, expansion in the NBA is no longer a matter of "if," but "when."
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