Adam Silver wants to get more players into the All-Star Game. Speaking to ESPN Radio on Sunday night, Day One of his second year as NBA Commissioner, Silver said that he’d like to expand the All-Star Game rosters, which are currently limited to 12 players per conference.
Asked to reflect on what he would remember most about his first year as commissioner, with Sunday marking exactly one since he replaced David Stern, Silver said: “That I had to decide between DeMarcus Cousins and Damian Lillard. I didn’t like having to make that choice. I wish I had another slot for Damian because I think he’s deserving of being an All-Star as well.
“I rely heavily on our basketball folks in terms of where the coaches’ [voting] came out. Of course there’s a fan vote for the starters and the coaches choose the reserves. DeMarcus was very high up on the coaches’ vote, so that had a strong influence on me. Ultimately I deferred to them. DeMarcus, based on his numbers, absolutely deserves to be an All-Star. Damian … his numbers are great, too. When I look at his team’s record, I want to take that into account as well. Damian is someone who has literally been a model citizen in terms of what he’s done in the community, he’s done in Portland [and] activities he’s engaged in with the league. It was essentially a tie in my mind, so I ultimately deferred to the coaches.”
Asked specifically about expanding the rosters in the respective conferences to 13 or even 15 players, Silver said: ”I think that’s something that will get very strong consideration. I think that’s an issue that we’ll end up discussing with the Players Association. It has a direct impact on many of the player’s bonuses. There’s preset bonuses in their contracts for making the All-Star team. I think counter-balancing that is the issue of playing time. [NBA executive vice president] Rod Thorn and I were having this discussion yesterday. We said we should move to [Kentucky coach John] Calipari’s platoon system for All-Star to make sure that everyone gets [enough] playing time.
“In all seriousness, that’s one of the concerns with a larger team. We want to make sure guys get minutes as well if they’re All-Stars. I’m in favor of expanding it. I’m not sure if it’s by one or two [roster spots], but it is something Michele Roberts and I will discuss.”
Silver also said that he’d like to take a look at the playoff format, the lottery and “things that have a direct impact on the competition” and that this “this is going to be the year where we have to make those decisions.”
He’s certainly thinking big, which is something that NBA fans have to be excited about. The question is whether he can actually push through some of these changes.