LAS VEGAS -- The NBA wants to make the final minutes of its games more fluid and quicker.
The NBA board of governors on Wednesday approved a rule to decrease the number of timeouts per game from 18 to 14. It also passed a rule that limits timeouts in the final two minutes of the game to two per team, down from three per team.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that the league has made some changes over the last couple of years to improve the overall length of games, but the latest change is aimed at the "pace and flow of the game."
"[Previous changes] in essence quietly got the length of our game down from two hours and 23 minutes to about two hours and 15 minutes, so we are pretty happy with the length of the game," Silver said at a news conference. "[With this latest rules change] we were more focused on the pace and flow of the game and what we heard from our fans and many of our teams, what we heard was that the end of the games in particular were too choppy."
"So we think these new changes will have a significant impact, especially at the end of the game," Silver said. "Overall we go from 18 to 14 timeouts but we have reduced the number of timeouts by four in the last two minutes of the game. Now in the last three minutes of games, each team will have two timeouts. That is significantly down. We will see how that works." Each team will get seven timeouts per game with no restrictions per half. Previously a "full" timeout was 90 seconds" and a "20-second" timeout was 60 seconds. Now, both will be replaced with 75-second team timeouts.
In overtime, teams previously had three timeouts but that's been reduced to two. The board also approved moving the trade deadline from the Thursday after the NBA All-Star Game to the Thursday 10 days before the game.
Silver said the NBA moved its trade deadline up to help any players that are traded at the deadline. When the deadline came after the All-Star break in the past, players who were traded did not have much time to acclimate themselves and move, especially if the trade sent a player cross country.
"The motivation for moving the trade deadline before All-Star was the sense that it was more unsettling to have a player traded right after the All-Star break," Silver explained. "The All-Star break would have been an opportunity for the player to move, himself, his family, get re-adjusted to the new team when they have that four- to five-day period to do that. There really was no magic to it."
"The thinking was we are adding an extra week to the season this year, to space out the travel and given that we are starting roughly Oct. 17 is the first day of the season, therefore if we were going to make the change, this was the time to do it."