On Saturday NBA commissioner Adam Silver floated an alternative playoff proposal (and not for the first time either) that would scrap the current East-West format in favor of simply seeding the eight best teams from each conference 1-16 based solely upon record. As you can probably guess, such a change would be pretty groundbreaking stuff for major American sports, as it would mean two teams from the same conference (Boston vs. Cleveland, Houston vs. Golden State, etc.) could/eventually would play one another for the league's championship.
"You also would like to have a format where your two best teams are ultimately going to meet in the Finals," Silver said to ESPN's Brian Windhorst. "You could have a situation where the top two teams in the league are meeting in the conference finals or somewhere else. So we’re going to continue to look at that. It’s still my hope that we’re going to figure out ways."
Silver had hinted at the for-now-hypothetical alteration during his annual All-Star Weekend press conference. It also comes amidst occasional calls to switch up the postseason format due to the glaring discrepency of competency that exists between the East and West.
Silver did acknowledge that a hindrance to this idea would be the amount of travel that teams from opposing coasts would have to deal with during a long, drawn-out series, with a 2-2-1-1-1 format. "Maybe ultimately you have to add even more days to the season to spread it out a little bit more to deal with the travel," he said. "Maybe air travel will get better. All things we'll keep looking at."
Obviously, such a significant tweak of the sport would require far more people than just the commissioner to enact. 20 out of the 30 franchises would have to vote in favor of it, which seems unlikely at the moment. At this point, the idea is just a concept, and no actual vote is scheduled. However, Silver did state "That is something that's gotten serious attention -- not just recently, but over the last few years at the league office."
Also, during the same briefing, Silver stated that he was "proud" of LeBron James and Kevin Durant's response(s) to a Fox News host who earlier this week implored the former to "shut up and dribble" during a diatribe on her nightly political show.
“Let me begin by saying I’m incredibly proud of our players for using the platform they have as players in the NBA and on social media to speak out on issues that are important to them,” said the commissioner. “I was proud of LeBron and Kevin’s response to the comments that were made about them.”
"I should also say it’s not lost on me or anybody in this room that there is enormous amount of racial tension in this country, enormous amount of social injustice, and I do see a role for this league in addressing those issues," he added.