INDEPENDENCE (92.3 The Fan) – LeBron James was all for changing up the NBA All-Star Game.
When it comes to the NBA playoffs, that’s a completely different story and he doesn’t want to hear a word about change.
“It’s cool to mess around with the All-Star Game,” James said Wednesday as the Cavaliers returned to practice from the All-Star break. “We proved that you could do that, but let’s not get too crazy about the playoffs.”
During the break in Los Angeles, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that he is considering making changes to the league’s playoff format. Silver conceded there is a major flaw with the plan.
“The obstacle is travel, and it’s not tradition, in my mind at least,” Silver told reporters Saturday. “It’s that as we’ve added an extra week to the regular season, as we’ve tried to reduce the number of back-to-backs, that we are concerned about teams crisscrossing the country in the first round, for example. We are just concerned about the overall travel that we would have in the top 16 teams.
“You also would like to have a format where your two best teams are ultimately going to meet in The Finals and, obviously, if it’s the top team in the East and top team in the West, I’m not saying this is the case this year, but 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.”
One proposal would see the top-16 teams in the league – regardless of conference – make the postseason field. Silver likes the idea of the top 8 teams from each conference still making the playoffs but he would consider re-seeding the field by record.
“I would disagree with that,” James said. “I think our league has been built the right way when it comes to the postseason. There’s been dominant conferences throughout time.”
James, a 3-time NBA champion who is attempting to make his eighth consecutive NBA Finals this year and ninth overall, opposes changes because he feels it would alter the history of the game too much.
“It just changes the landscape of the history of the game if you start messing with seedings and playoffs,” James said.
Silver is considering proposals to change the playoffs in response to the overall strength of the Western Conference in recent years compared to the Eastern Conference. But James, pointing to the league’s own history of periodic dominance, doesn’t agree there’s a disparity.
“In the ’80s you had the Lakers who dominated the league at one point, then you had Boston. In the ’90s you had Chicago. San Antonio also had its run. We had our run in the East with Miami, Golden State is having their run,” James said.
James also pointed out the results of the NBA Finals since he’s been in the league to make his case.
“I’ve been a part of the Eastern Conference my whole career and we’ve been very, very competitive,” James said. “There’s been years where we weren’t as good. If I can think from once I got into the league, it’s been us, I’ve done it three times, Detroit, Boston, Miami in ’06, that’s like seven championships out of 14 years. That’s half, right? So what are we talking about?”
Actually the East has won 6 Finals and the West 8, but James’ point was still made.