For years now, players and coaches have (with good reason) moaned about the dangers posed by the proximity of photographers along the baselines of the court.
In the wake of Paul George’s devastating leg injury, the NBA is instituting new rules – clearing an extra foot of open space on both sides of the basket stanchion, and trimming the number of photographers along the baseline – in an effort to improve player safety. Per the AP:
“The conversations about this topic preceded Paul’s injury by several years,” Thorn said. “As a matter of fact, at our league meetings in July we informed our teams this was the direction we were going. But of course when an injury occurs like the one to Paul, it reaffirms the changes we have made and the need to continue to evaluate our policies.”
The “escape lanes,” the unoccupied area on either side of the stanchion to the closest photographer spot, will increase from 3 to 4 feet. […] Only 20 camera positions, 10 on each baseline, will remain, down from 24 last season and 40 during the 2010-11 regular season. Each baseline can have six photo spots on one side of the basket and four on the other, and dance teams or other entertainers cannot be stationed along the baseline.
“We have been studying this issue consistently over the last four years and these are just the latest adjustments to make the baselines an even safer area for our players, our team attendants and the photographers,” Thorn said. “Many of the incidents of contact between players and photographers are around the basket area, so we felt it made sense to increase the open area between the baskets and the first photographer to four feet.”