Shortening the NBA Season Pros and Cons: One Man’s Opinion
The NBA is considering shortening their season by as much as almost 30 percent, from 82 to 58 games. I can understand why they might want to trim the regular season down; they’ve already made huge strides in eliminating the back to back road games on consecutive nights, even home and away games back to back. Personally, I don’t feel bad for NBA players in these situations. They aren’t like you and me; they’re flying in private jets and staying in the best hotels. Sure, traveling can be rough, but it’s been made as comfortable as possible. NHL players do the same thing, and while they don’t make as much as NBA players they play the same amount of games, and their games are obviously much more physical.
But I digress.
Shortening the season makes sense on some fronts, but not others. There are teams that are in smaller markets and aren’t as successful as others who rely on the revenue created by home game attendance. Cutting their profits by 30% would be catastrophic, and no one wants to lose 30% of their income. On the other hand, shortening the season would greatly reduce the wear and tear on players’ bodies and potentially allow players to have longer careers because they would be playing fewer games. But there’s one HUGE problem I have yet to see anyone address.
If players are enthusiastic about cutting their season by 30%, would they be as enthusiastic about cutting their salary by the same amount? Because I would argue that should be the case. James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, and others are making around $40 million per year, but that’s based on a full 82-game schedule. Do you think those guys, and others, would be fine going from making $40 million to suddenly making $31 million? Yes, that’s a ridiculous amount of money, but these guys have earned it by being the best of the best in their respective vocation.
It’s a difficult decision to have to make; do you sacrifice some money in order to prolong their careers and perhaps conserve their health or do they keep things going the way they are? Now to me, the answer is simple; conserve your health. You’ve already got plenty of money, you would more than recoup your lost income through your endorsements if you’re a higher-end player. Also, you’re more than financially secure with just a single year of your contract. I mean, look at Kevin Durant – teams are lining up to pay him top dollar despite the fact that he’ll be out all next year recovering from his awful Achilles tear, he’ll be 32 when he starts playing again and it’ll take roughly another year until he’s fully back to being himself. So by the time he’s ready to go again and completely healed, he’ll be 33, yet there’s no shortage of teams falling over themselves to procure his services; he’ll be making max contract money next season while rehabbing.
So the ball is literally in their court. The NBA won’t do this without the players’ approval, of course. But I find it hard to believe that this could happen and the players would be okay with slashing their salaries like that. And that is why I don’t think it would ever happen because I’m guessing that the majority of players would be interested in the shorter season, but would want to keep their current paychecks. Team owners would be less than enthusiastic about paying their employees the same amount of money for less work. When it comes right down to it, the NBA is a business, and I don’t know of any business owner that would be okay with their employees doing less work without also paying them less. I think that if this issue gets brought up at the next collective bargaining agreement, it could lead to a work stoppage. There would have to be considerable concessions given up by both sides in order for this to be beneficial to both sides. Personally, I think things will stay the way they are, at least for the foreseeable future, but who knows what the future will bring.