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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Speaks Out on Game Limit and All-Star Lineup Changes in Face of Criticism


NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke to the media during All-Star Weekend.

NBA All-Star Weekend is a time for fans and players to enjoy a week dedicated to the success of the season at hand. It is also a time for NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the league office to discuss certain matters that always seem to be discussed in daily news cycles. Ahead of the All-Star festivities on Saturday night, Silver spoke with reporters and touched on several key topics, most notably the 65-game requirement for end-of-season awards and the possible expansion of All-Star rosters.

As part of the league’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement, there is now a 65-game minimum requirement for players to be eligible for awards and honors such as the MVP award and being named to the All-NBA team. This minimum game requirement to qualify for awards has become a focal point of conversations amongst league circles in recent weeks, especially with Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid now being ineligible to compete for his second straight MVP award due to injuries.

Embiid, as well as other players, may be directly impacted financially in future contracts as a result of this new minimum game stipulation being put in place. From current stars to fans, many have been complaining about whether Silver and the league office need to make some slight adjustments to this new rule, possibly decreasing it by a few more games since it can dictate how much players can make with supermax contracts. The commissioner’s answer to this question was very simple.

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“My answer is I’m not sure,” Silver said in response to separating the potential value of contracts from awards. “A lot of thought went into the 65-game demarcation. Not only was it collectively bargained with the players, but we spent extensive time leading up to collective bargaining talking to all the various constituencies in the league, most importantly the coaches and general managers, and individual players directly. The notion was that we needed to further incentivize players, particularly star players, to play more games.

“I’m not ready to say that it isn’t working so far. I can tell you that the number of games that players have participated in is up this season and interestingly enough, injuries are actually down. Whether that is meaningful data yet, I don’t know.”

Silver pointed out that the league would review the matter further at the end of the season when they could accurately gather all of the information needed. Money is always a talking point in the NBA world, hence the discussion surrounding this new award game requirement for the 2023-24 NBA season.

NBA All-Star roster expansion

In regards to the 2024 NBA All-Star Game, the idea of expanding these rosters has also become a reoccurring theme in the league every single season. With the amount of talent across all 30 teams and multiple All-Star-worthy players being left off the roster every year, the idea of adding one or two spots for the All-Star festivities to both the Western and Eastern Conferences seems to make sense in the eyes of consumers. This is also an idea that seems to resonate with the players.

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However, Silver made it clear on Saturday night that being named an All-Star is an honor only a select few can earn, as expanding the rosters lessens the true value of All-Star Weekend.

“There is no plan now to add roster spots,” Silver adamantly told the media. “I think part of the issue is, even though we have expanded the number of teams, we haven’t expanded the number of minutes, and there is only one ball. And then the question is: how do you distribute those minutes amongst the All-Stars? I think also, when we sat down with the players to discuss this during bargaining, there is that sense of specialness of being an All-Star and being one of 24 as opposed of being one of a larger number.

“I never say never to anything, but it seems to be resolved right now. This is the right size of the teams.”

The constant feud between players and officials is also something that was brought to Silver’s attention briefly during his press conference on Saturday. In regards to what the league can do better at to prevent certain situations, the commissioner emphatically stated that this is a “two-way” problem in which officials need to be willing to respect the players, and vice versa.

At the All-Star break, Silver and the league find themselves in the perfect spot. There continues to be a rise in talent and external interest in the NBA, leading to some of the league’s most prosperous times. The question of whether or not changes brought to Silver’s attention are made will be addressed in the offseason.

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