NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has expressed his concern on the ongoing tanking culture around the league.
During his meeting with the Phoenix Suns employees, in which he reportedly expressed his apologies regarding the Robert Sarver issue, Silver was asked about his insight with regards to tanking.
“We put teams on notice,” Silver told employees about tanking, per ESPN’s Baxter Holmes. “We’re going to be paying particular attention to the issue this year.”
Tanking is a strategy being utilized by several rebuilding teams in order to drop down to the standings just to gain a high percentage of landing a top prospect in the NBA Draft.
The said scheming produced further noise this new season, with French seven-foot generational talent Victor Wembanyama and NBA G League standout Scoot Henderson expected to enter the next year’s rookie selection.
Silver noted that the NBA has considered a potential relegation system that is being adapted in European soccer to penalize the worst teams at the end. As such, the two worst teams will be inserted to the G League if that’ll be the case – which he claimed would be a “destabilizing” practice within the association.
“It would so disrupt our business model,” he said. “And even if you took two teams up from the G League, they wouldn’t be equipped to compete in the NBA.”
Silver already made headlines from the past about tanking. Under his leadership in 2019, the league made an impactful move to flatten the highest odds to gain the first overall pick selection to 14 percent. From the previous years, the worst team based on the regular season record would gain 25 percent chance, with second and third-worst following at 19.9 percent and 15.6 percent, respectively.
“It’s something we have to watch for,” Silver said. “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.” Silver said.
“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.”