NBA Approves Rule Changes To Improve Game Flow

The NBA Board of Governors has approved a number of rule changes to decrease stoppages, particularly during the often drawn-out ends of games. Starting next season, the maximum number of timeouts per game will decrease from 18 to 14. In addition, teams will be limited to two team timeouts each during the last three minutes of a game, instead of the three that they were previously allowed.

The rule modifications for timeouts, per, are below:

  • Each team will have seven timeouts per game, with no restrictions per half.
  • All team timeouts will be 75 seconds.  In the previous format, “full” timeouts were 90 seconds and “20-second” timeouts were 60 seconds. Both “full” and “20-second” timeouts have been replaced by team timeouts.
  • All four periods will have two mandatory timeouts, which will take place after the first stoppage under the seven- and three-minute marks.
  • The under-nine-minute mandatory timeouts in the second and fourth periods will be eliminated.
  • Each team can enter the fourth period with up to four team timeouts.
  • Each team will be limited to two team timeouts after the later of (i) the three-minute mark of the fourth period or (ii) the resumption of play after the second mandatory timeout of the fourth period.
  • Each team will have two team timeouts per overtime period; previously teams had three.

In an unrelated change, the League will move the trade deadline from the Thursday after the All-Star Game to the second-to-last Thursday before the All-Star Game. Teams will be able to finalize their rosters before the All-Star break and avoid the disruption of bringing in new players just as games are starting up again. This will also mean no more All-Star weekends cluttered with trade rumors, which should be good news for DeMarcus Cousins.

These rules were recommended unanimously by the NBA’s Competition Committee before being voted on by the Board of Governors.