According to a report from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Ira Winderman, the NBA is ready to extend the league's All-Star break from a extra-long weekend to a full-week break. It also appears the league's schedule manipulations are already underway.
"That's the model they're using right now while they're filling in the schedule," an NBA source told Winderman on Friday. "Could they go back and use some of those dates if needed? That's possible. But the week off looks like what's going to happen."
This potential midseason change falls in line with the talks that NBA commissioner Adam Silver had with stars during the last All-Star break.
According to Silver, LeBron James was very interested in an extended break, as ESPN.com's Marc Stein wrote in February:
One of the issues LeBron raised is a break during All-Star [Weekend]. A guy like LeBron, All-Star Weekend is not a break for him in any way. He's going around the clock with a combination of things the league is asking him to do, personal commitments, and I think it makes sense if we can work in the schedule a few days so the All-Stars can get a break as well.
This may seem like a ploy to cater to the whims of the Association's most powerful stars, but it could serve as a benefit to all parties involved.
The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell believes that most players want an extended break:
If the only downside was a couple extra back-to-backs, everyone in the NBA would applaud a week-long All-Star break, I think.— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) July 25, 2014
Teams that rely on aging rosters like the San Antonio Spurs will have more time to rest players—okay, maybe that's actually worse for the other 29 clubs—and might not be as inclined to sit them during the regular season, even if there are more back-to-back games. It would be interesting to see how Gregg Popovich handles a change like this one.
Then again, some players may just look at this as an opportunity for even more time off. Complex's Russ Bengtson joked that no player would want to participate in the All-Star game if the alternative was a week-long vacation:
Man, if the NBA All-Star break is a week, NO players are gonna want to make the All-Star team.— Russ Bengtson (@russbengtson) July 25, 2014
Should the NBA extend the All-Star break?
Bengtson may have laced his commentary with sarcasm, but it does bring up an interesting point. With more time to recuperate for the second half of the season, players could see the All-Star break's sideshow attractions like the dunk contest and skills challenge as unnecessary impediments to their continued development.
A full week off is a tantalizing opportunity to relax, focus on film study or work with coaching staff to better prepare for the NBA's stretch run.
Considering younger, developing players are the one's usually participating in those events, they may not be as quick to sign up for a shot at momentary notoriety when long-term gain is to be had. At the end of the day, all of those players eventually want to be in the break's main event, the actual All-Star game.