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Silver looks at expanding All-Star rosters

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Updated 10 months ago on
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In an interview on ESPN Radio Sunday night, NBA commissioner Adam Silver reflected on his eventful first year on the job and looked ahead to the future.

“It’s my hope that I’ll be able to focus almost entirely on building the game of basketball in my second year,” Silver said on the show.

“I think the second year is going to be a time for action and I think, to an extent, there are ways to improve the playoff format, ways to improve the draft lottery. This is going to be the year where we have to make those decisions. Of course, with our Board of Governors, that is all of the owners, we have to decide which of those ideas are worthy of being implemented.”

Silver also discussed expanding All-Star rosters from their current limit of 12 — a subject he planned to bring up with new Players Association executive director Michele Roberts — after he made the difficult decision to tab Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins over Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard for the opening on the Western Conference squad to replace injured Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant.

“I didn’t like having to make that choice,” Silver said. “I wish I had another slot for Damian because I think he’s deserving of being an All-Star as well. I rely heavily on our basketball folks in terms of where the coaches’ (voting) came out. Of course, there’s a fan vote for the starters and the coaches choose the reserves. DeMarcus was very high up on the coaches’ vote, so that had a strong influence on me. Ultimately, I deferred to them. DeMarcus, based on his numbers, absolutely deserves to be an All-Star.

Silver continued, regarding expanding rosters: “I think that’s something that will get very strong consideration. I think that’s an issue that we’ll end up discussing with the Players Association. It has a direct impact on many of the player’s bonuses. There’s preset bonuses in their contracts for making the All-Star team. I think counter-balancing that is the issue of playing time. (NBA executive vice president) Rod Thorn and I were having this discussion yesterday. We said we should move to (Kentucky coach John) Calipari’s platoon system for All-Star to make sure that everyone gets (enough) playing time.

“In all seriousness, that’s one of the concerns with a larger team. We want to make sure guys get minutes as well if they’re All-Stars. I’m in favor of expanding it. I’m not sure if it’s by one or two (roster spots), but it is something Michele Roberts and I will discuss.”

Silver also touched on the potential for a labor issue in 2017.

“I want to be a realist,” he said. “I understand that it’s become a part of sports. I don’t want to tell fans that they should disregard the things that the head of our Players Association is saying. I take her at her word. Having said that, I think that when we get into full-out negotiating — which won’t be for a long time — and we continue to share our financials as we have historically and everyone takes into account, meaning both the teams and the players, how well this league is operating … I’d like to think that calmer heads will prevail and we’ll all realize that we have a great system here and that we shouldn’t screw it up.”

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