The upcoming NBA schedule is circulating among the teams before being finalized and announced to the public.
“Draft of NBA schedule circulating among teams. Sources say 4-games-in-5-nights nearly eliminated in that draft version,” reported Zach Lowe of Grantland.
That change is significant because so many games grouped together have led to more fatigue and the widespread adoption of the Spurs-style resting system.
Especially in the home stretch of the 2014-15 regular season, many teams rested stars on random nights to try to battle fatigue and avoid injuries. That left fans disappointed and also prompted discussions about how to tweak the schedule so players can play more.
Bobby Marks, the former assistant GM of the Brooklyn Nets, said via Twitter he’s not sure what the schedule would look like with the 4-in-5 eliminated.
“Remember the league is not extending the regular season. Do weekend games get sacrificed to appease players and teams?” he said.
“If weekends are sacrificed how will this affect ticket sales? Teams make the most money on Friday and Saturday games. Does the NBA use this as a bargaining chip in the next CBA? We reduced 4 in 5 nights to appease the players but it cost potential revenue.”
NBC noted that 4-games-in-5 nights have gradually gone down over the years, with 70 4-in-5s taking place in 2015 (2.8 percent of games were 4-in-5s). That’s one of the lowest percentages in NBA history.
The official release date of the schedule hasn’t been announced, but reports peg it coming out before the end of this month.
In another tidbit related to the schedule, ABC announced that it will air eight Saturday night games beginning on January 23, 2016. The network previously aired doubleheaders on Sunday but will now air one game on Saturday night and one game on Sunday.
ESPN will continue to broadcast games on Wednesday and Friday nights during the season.