Adam Silver probably — hopefully without any off-court incidents during the off-season — had his last press conference of the summer at the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League. Silver addressed the changes in Hack-A-Shaq, mentioned no changes in the NBA plans for moving summer league, and said the league has no plans to add expansion teams — this was pertinent because the NHL and NFL seem to be in a race to Las Vegas. The biggest things he hit on that could really affect NBA business — and of course get media attention since it will garner clicks and commentary — were the CBA and super-teams and the All-Star Game in North Carolina.
It is more difficult to see a scenario where the current CBA will be kept through the end of the deal. Each side has an option to opt-out after next season, and even though the money is flowing and the league has never been healthier financiall, pessimism has set in among some NBA circles. One of the main reasons is super-teams. Silver lamented that the revenue shock to basketball related income due to the new TV contract caused a salary cap anomaly that allowed the 73-win Warriors to land Kevin Durant in free agency. He congratulated Durant, but seemed resigned that small market owners are now most likely hardened in their stance to opt out of the CBA to protect themselves from losing stars.
Silver is great at using the right words in the right situation. Before the finals Silver came out and said he wasn’t interested in parity — he shouldn’t be an NBA Finals with Durant, Curry and LeBron would be an amazing boon for TV partners, sponsors, and everyone involved in the game. But, he also said he is interested in competitive balance and the idea that each team has a chance to build and construct a champion. Durant to the Warriors killed that idea with many casual fans and small market owners. If small market owners feel they have no hope, they could lose fans in their market would could then lose them money. In the end it all could lead to a CBA opt-out. There was a glimmer of hope that wouldn’t happen, but that glimmer is most likely gone.
Silver also addressed the HB2 issue in North Carolina. No decision has been made on the All-Star Game. When it comes to the goals of the NBA to support inclusion it is a big deal. The league could lose some sponsors, but in reality the game being played in or out of North Carolina wouldn’t be fiscally crippling. It could cause problems in others ways especially as the media focuses on the issue. Some will say the NBA owes Charlotte owner Michael Jordan the All-Star game for everything he has done for the game of basketball. It doesn’t look like that type of paid-in-kind repayment will be happening if the NBA decides to move the game.