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NBA Experimenting with Rule Changes During Summer League

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ESPN summarizes a memo to its teams previewing coaching challenges, ball update.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Summer League, 2019 will become a testing ground for potential rule changes and updates, including the long-rumored coach’s challenge. The news comes from a memo circulated to team offices, summarized by Zach Lowe of ESPN. Three advancements will get try-outs in Las Vegas next month.

Coach’s Challenge

Coaches will be allowed one challenge per game, asking officials to review a call. The challenge will be non-renewable no matter the outcome rendered.

Per Lowe:

They can use it to challenge only called fouls, goaltending, basket interference and plays when the ball is knocked out of bounds, the memo says. The NBA has tested this version of the challenge system in the G League over the past two seasons.

Coaches must have a timeout remaining to use a challenge. The team must call a timeout immediately after the event it would like to challenge, and the coach must “twirl his/her index finger toward the referees” to signal for the challenge, the memo states. If the challenge is successful, the team retains the timeout it used to stop play. If the challenge is unsuccessful, it loses that timeout.

Coaches will not be able to challenge incidents where fouls are not called.

The league anticipates adopting this change during the 2019-20 season as a pilot program.

Transition Fouls

Summer League will follow the G-League’s definition of transition foul, penalizing intentional fouls that stop fast breaks whether or not the dribbler’s path to the basket is clear when the foul was committed. The team losing the fast-break opportunity will get a single free throw and retain possession.

Microchipped Ball

Summer League game balls will carry a motion-tracking chip. If you adopt a ball during Summer League, please call the toll-free number in the adoption information packet to initialize the chip and update the information, making it easier to reunite you with your new ball should it ever get lost.

No, seriously, we don’t know what the microchip is for. I have visions of Homer Simpson sitting in front of a tracking screen saying, “Ball go up. Ball go down. Ball go up. Ball go down. Ball go up... wheeeeeeeeee! Hee hee hee! Ball go up. Ball go down.”

—Dave