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NBA Considers Lengthening Regular Season, Shortening Preseason

While teams would still play 82 games, the season would be longer, and the number of back-to-back games would be reduced.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Grantland has an article by Zach Lowe saying that the NBA has surveyed team executives, informally, about reducing preseason games by enough games so the regular season can be started earlier and the full 82-game schedule can be extended by about 10 days.  That way a couple of back-to-backs can be cut from each team's schedule so that players can get a bit more rest and reduce wear and tear on their bodies.  The reduction from an 82-game schedule seems to be have been rejected up front because of the revenue loses that plan would entail.

The league confirmed the outreach process is ongoing. "Adam [Silver] has said he would reexamine our scheduling process, and acquiring information from our teams is a vital part of that research," league spokesman Tim Frank told Grantland.

Most teams preseason consists of seven or eight games and that schedule is arranged by the teams themselves where the regular season's 82-games is scheduled by the league.  Not surprisingly,  preseason scheduling leads to spats between team executives over dates and locations that has sometimes been a minor sore spot.

Coaches, of course, would likely not want to reduce preseason time developing their teams chemistry, continuity, and player rotation.  From a coaches perspective there is not enough quality time during the season to develop their players as it is now, so they may not be interested in this new proposal.

That's why the league has also floated the idea of allowing an NFL-style "organized team activity" during the offseason, sources say.

If this latest outreach proposal from the league gains traction it likely would not be any earlier than the 2016-17 season before it was in place.  Howe notes a nice side effect of this proposal, if ultimately adopted, would be to reduce some obvious rest disparity between teams but he seems to question the league's methodology.

This is all fruitful discussion, but it is also an enormous amount of time spent researching little fixes when there's an obvious overarching solution staring the league right in the face. It's like building a maze from Point A to Point B instead of just walking in a straight line. But as long as the straight line is unattainable, it's healthy for the NBA to kick around any realistic alternative that could lighten the load on players.