NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke about what it would take to possibly change the current playoff format to make it the top 16 teams instead of the top eight from each conference, and he said schedule reform would have to happen first, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN.
While in China before a preseason game between the Warriors and Timberwolves, Silver explained that in order for the NBA to make the switch to a playoff format that pits the top 16 teams against each other, there would need to be a balanced schedule. He said it wouldn't be right to seed teams 1-16 when Eastern conference teams play more games against each other than Western conference teams and vice versa.
"If we were going to seed 1-16, we would need to play a balanced schedule to make it fair for everyone if we were going to seed 1-16 in the playoffs," Silver said according to Friedell. "It may be that as we continue to experiment with the number of days over which we can schedule 82 games that it will create more of an opportunity for a balanced schedule."
Silver would go on to explain that the league is not married to the 82-game schedule, and if changing the number of games played each regular season would help change how the league could format the playoffs while assuring players get more rest like they will be getting this season, he would look into it.
The NBA recently changed the format of the All-Star Game so it is no longer East vs. West, but instead captains choose teams among a pool that contains an equal number of players from each conference.
The NBA season starts Tuesday, Oct. 17 when the Cavaliers host the Celtics and then the Warriors welcome the Rockets in the second game of the night.