NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a news conference after an annual NBA basketball owners meeting, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Mark Lennihan
October 23, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) Commissioner Adam Silver is optimistic about the NBA's health and relationship with its players, offering hope that the league can avoid another lockout in 2017.

Silver also said Friday he expects the league will reduce the number of preseason games, though doesn't know how many would be played. The schedule currently allows for a maximum of eight per team.

Owners wrapped up two days of their annual preseason meetings before Silver held a press conference Friday. They are expecting an enormous influx of revenues next year with the beginning of the new national TV deals, valued at about $2.6 billion.

Either side could opt out of the collective bargaining agreement in 2017, six years after it was approved following a work stoppage. The 82-game schedule was reduced to 66 games during that 2011-12 season, but the league and players association are trying to avoid another interruption so soon.

''I remain optimistic in a general way just because I think things are going so well for the teams and the players,'' Silver said.

He has been having lunch meetings with Michele Roberts, who was hired last summer as the union's executive director. Silver said they aren't discussing any CBA issues yet, but are building a relationship that could prove beneficial to both sides.

''I think we have as good a relationship as we've ever had with the players association,'' Silver said.

That wasn't the case in 2011, when owners sought and eventually got a new economic structure after saying they were losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year under the previous agreement, which guaranteed players 57 percent of basketball revenues.

It's about 50-50 now and there will be much more to share next season. The new TV money will aid teams that are still struggling and will help player salaries rise as the salary cap, tied to revenues, takes a massive leap to eventually above $100 million.

That creates some complications when it comes to sharing money that wasn't projected, but Silver seems eager to have those discussions.

''There's a lot swirling around there,'' he said. ''Here I look forward to the engagement with the players association on these issues because, and both sides I think understand, it's all of our problem/issue, and there are issues in terms of how money gets distributed among the players and competitive issues for our teams.''

If neither side opts out, the CBA is scheduled to run through 2021.

Whenever they do bargain again, Silver said he is ''almost certain'' the preseason schedule will be a topic. Some coaches have said they don't want so many games and would prefer perhaps half the eight that are currently allowed.

''I think the expectation is we'll be reducing the number of preseason games,'' Silver said. ''Precisely where the line will be is uncertain.''


-Silver said the league's position on daily fantasy sites ''hasn't changed'' and that owners were given an update on the state of the industry. The NBA has a small stake in FanDuel and several teams have relationships with DraftKings.

-Silver said the league is looking into the altercation between Knicks coach Derek Fisher and Memphis forward Matt Barnes but didn't have any timetable for deciding on punishment.

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