Changes are coming to the NBA next season

Death, taxes, rule changes to the NBA - these things are pretty much a certainty, and next season is no exception.

We previously reported on how the league plans to move the trade deadline forward to ten days before the NBA All-Star Week in February to avoid scheduling conflicts and potential awkwardness such as occurred after DeMarcus Cousins discovered he was being traded at the All-Star Game. There's several more issues being addressed for the 2017-18 NBA Season, some of which stems from the adoption of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, others - like the trade deadline move - coming from the Board of Governors.

For example, the league is reducing the number of timeouts from nine to seven in the hopes it allows for a better product through smoother game play from fewer interruptions. To that end, only two - down from three - timeouts will be allowed in the final three minutes of play. A compromise likely struck to assuage advertisers sees all timeouts to move from a minimum of 20 seconds to at maximum of 90 seconds to a uniform 75. The hope is to reduce the game time to closer to two hours overall as well, with last year's average being close to two hours and 15 minutes, down from two hours and 23 minutes prior. Said Adam Silver on the topic (per the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett):

"We were more focused here on the pace and flow of the game,” he said. “What we heard from our fans and heard from many of our teams was that the end of the games in particular were too choppy. I think since I was a kid, that’s an issue people have been talking about, the last two minutes of our game. We think these new changes will have a significant impact, especially at the end of the game. Overall, we’ve gone from 18 to 14 timeouts."

The league also seriously considered adopting a top-16 seeding approach to the playoffs given the current imbalance of power in the league's two conferences, but the proposal didn't have the support needed for adoption. It may be revisited in the future, but at least for now, conferences still matter. Geographical scheduling concerns were also cited as a reason for non-adoption.

Additionally, the preseason has had the number of games reduced with the regular season starting sooner, to eliminate the number of back-to-backs played by teams during the regular season. Veterans will need to report to their teams by September 25th now, and the season will begin on October 17th, a week sooner than in the recent past.

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