Adam Silver Discussing Solutions To Prevent Tanking By NBA Teams

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Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

No matter the sport, leagues around the world always must be wary of teams potentially tanking in order to gain a better position in next year’s draft. For instance, the National Football League recently conducted an investigation into the Miami Dolphins following tanking allegations made by the team’s former head coach Brian Flores.

The league also called on the services of Mary Jo White to investigate the Cleveland Browns for alleged tanking. The Browns were accused of tanking in both 2016 and 2017 seasons. Cleveland had a 1-15 season in 2016 and a 0-16 season in 2017. Now, the National Basketball Association is addressing tanking issues it claims are “serious.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says he has placed teams “on notice” this season about potential solutions and penalties for tanking. When speaking at the Phoenix Suns arena, Silver said that the issue has prompted “hundreds” of internal meetings. The commissioner also offered multiple apologies on behalf of the league office to Phoenix Suns staff employees for the recent Robert Sarver incident.

“We’re going to be paying particular attention to the issue this year,” Silver said of ways to avoid the temptation for tanking.

One solution Silver brought up to Suns staff is the possibility of providing incentives for teams that are performing worse, referring to a concept utilized in the European soccer leagues. A downside of the concept, Silver fears, is the potential “destabilization” of the NBA. Silver simplified the explanation, saying it would mean two G League teams would be promoted to the NBA while two of the worst NBA teams would be downgraded to the G League. Silver added it would disrupt the league’s business model.

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

“It’s something we have to watch for,” Silver continued when speaking about the NBA Draft. “A draft is, in principle, a good system. But I get it, especially when there is a sense that a once-in-a-generation player is coming along, like we have this year. Teams are smarter, they are creative, and they respond — we move, they move — so we’re always looking to see whether there’s yet a better system.”

ESPN has more HERE.