Adam Silver Discusses NBA Expansion, Coaching Diversity, Play-in Tournament, More

Blake SchusterContributor IJuly 7, 2021

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 6:  NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media during a press conference during the NBA All-Star 2021 on March 6, 2021 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

NBA commissioner Adam Silver met with members of the media shortly before Game 1 of the Finals on Tuesday, touching on a number of issues concerning the league from expansion to coaching diversity. 

Among the more notable comments Silver made, the commissioner touched on a high rate of injuries this season, allowed for second-guessing of his own decisions during the pandemic this season and mentioned an 82-game season is not set in stone moving forward. 

Here's a look at how the Association's steward views the league at the end of 2020-21. 

Expansion and Schedule

As the NHL prepares to add the Seattle Kraken only a few years after the Vegas Golden Knights joined the league, expansion in the NBA remains a point of curiosity from fans and observers alike. 

It just doesn't appear as though a new pro basketball team will be joining the Association any time soon. While Silver said the league is continuing to consider expansion, no decisions are imminent. 

gary washburn @GwashburnGlobe

Silver said the NBA will 'continue to consider" expansion. Not exactly encouraging words for a return to Seattle soon. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAFinals2021?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAFinals2021</a>

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Adam Silver: "The most important consideration for us when we talk about expansion is will it ultimately grow more of the pie?"

Silver seems more concerned over the future and viability of a full 82-game season. As injuries mounted this campaign—especially during the postseason—the commissioner said it's worth questioning whether the league made the right decisions this year. 

Sean Highkin @highkin

Adam Silver says it's "fair game to second-guess" the league's approach to this season and schedule.

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Adam Silver: "I have no doubt the physical stress and mental toll has contributed to injuries."

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Adam Silver on the NBA's compressed season: "I maintain still that was the best outcome out of a variety of unpopular decisions. But I accept the criticism and it's part of the job, whether it's from players or media."

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver having his usual pre-Finals press conference to talk about what he has called "a unique" season that has had "an emotional and physical burden on everyone."

Tim Reynolds @ByTimReynolds

"Is 82 optimal?" - Adam Silver, on future NBA schedules.

Tim Reynolds @ByTimReynolds

Adam Silver says no global NBA games in 2021, hope is there for 2022.

One thing that won't be changing with the schedule moving forward is the postseason play-in tournament. Silver believes that will be the standard next year and moving forward. 

Sean Highkin @highkin

Adam Silver on the play-in tournament: "It's my expectation that we'll continue it next season."

Coaching Diversity

As the offseason coaching carousel rolls along, Silver said he's happy with the strides the league has made when it comes to diversity, but that it's a daily focus—especially when it comes to hiring Black and women coaches. 

Vincent Goodwill @VinceGoodwill

Silver on diversity in coaching ranks: “It’s something that requires daily attention. We’re not gonna rest on our laurels.”

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Adam Silver on NBA improving head-coaching representation about Black and women coaches: "It's something that requires daily attention." Silver added "we’re not gonna rest on our laurels.”

Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpears

Adam Silver says there is “positive movement” for diversity in coach hires this off-season, but the NBA won’t rest. He added that it was “frustrating” in terms of women, but believes it’s beginning to change.

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Adam Silver on the NBA not having a woman head coach: "It’s a little bit frustrating. It’s an area you look around here, and you'd like to see more representation here with all aspects of our business."

Becky Hammon and Dawn Staley were both reportedly candidates for head coaching positions but ultimately did not get a job. Hammon made it to an interview with the Portland Trail Blazers' front office before the club decided to hire Chauncey Billups. 

The commissioner would like to see more diversity on the sidelines as well as in the interview process. 

Toronto Raptors Home Arena

Another issue that will factor into the league's scheduling is the status of the Toronto Raptors. As a result of the pandemic, the league temporarily relocated the franchise's home games to Tampa, Florida's Amalie Arena because of Canada's border restrictions. 

Silver doesn't know if the team will return to Toronto next year, but remains hopeful. 

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Adam Silver said "it's unclear yet" if the Toronto Raptors will play in their homebase next season

League Finances 

The latest financial projections show the league is down 33 percent this season compared to 40 percent last year as fans were slowly allowed to return to arenas. That number still represents a better finish than the NBA was initially expecting. 

It's unclear what that could mean for the salary cap or future endeavors, but it's a small positive as Silver continues to navigate the league through COVID-19.