ORLANDO, Fla. -- The NBA’s competition committee voted Friday to make the transition rule allowing teams to dress and play 13 players permanent and to shorten and streamline the waiver period, said Stu Jackson, the league’s executive vice president of basketball operations.
The roster rule was approved unanimously by the committee consisting of league and team executives and will be recommended to the Board of Governors for formal adoption pending approval by the players’ union. The waiver period, currently 48 business hours during the season and seven days from the end of the season until August 15, would be changed to 48 hours year-round, including weekends.
The long-held practice of the league maintaining three daily waiver reporting times – 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET – would be replaced by a single daily reporting time of 5 p.m. ET, Jackson said. The changes could take effect as soon as this summer.
The roster rule initially was employed with the intention of allowing teams to dress 13 players but only play 12. It was subsequently decided that all 13 who dressed would be able to play. The committee voted Friday to recommend making the rule permanent.
“It just makes more sense for our teams,” Jackson said.
One team representative made what Jackson characterized as a “somewhat humorous” proposal that actually might achieve the league’s goal of shortening games: Penalize players for moving around the lane area and slapping fives after free throws. The committee didn’t pass that proposal, but adopted an informal recommendation that in extreme cases – such as a player walking to half court to high-five after a free throw – the team should be assessed a delay-of-game warning.
“It’s more of a referee interpretation,” Jackson said.
Jackson made the usual presentation on the quality of play, including the fact that scoring is down -- from 99.3 points per team per game at this point last season to 95.0. About half the difference can be attributed to fewer fouls, fewer free-throw attempts and lower free-throw percentage, Jackson said. Free-throw attempts are down 2.3 per team per game, fouls are down 2.7 per game and points from free throws are down 2.1 per game.
“Possessions are down very slightly, we’re not shooting the ball as well and then there’s the cumulative effect of what happened before the season,” Jackson said. “You had a shortened preseason, you don’t have as much time to prepare, and teams are going deeper into their bench and playing the 10th, 11th and 12th guy more.”
The committee also viewed a presentation on player tracking, a technology that digitally illustrates every movement a player makes during a game -- such as how high they jump when getting a rebound and how much space is between the shooter and defender, and how shooting percentage varies with that space. About 10 teams currently use a version of this technology to evaluate players, and the committee discussed the idea of someday providing it at the league level to all teams.
“That won’t happen for quite a while, but it’s certainly worth monitoring,” Jackson said.