Competition committee examines change to playoff seeding

LAS VEGAS -- The NBA's competition committee closely examined the league's playoff seeding procedures on Monday, potentially paving the way for a change to the rule that currently gives a top-four seed to a division winner regardless of record, league sources told

The Board of Governors, which meets Tuesday, will be updated on the discussion, though it's possible that a specific change won't be recommended to the Board for a vote until October, a person familiar with the discussions said.

As part of the discussion about whether a division winner should automatically qualify for a top-four seed, the committee also examined whether a division winner should get a tiebreak over a non-division winner with a better record. No consensus was reached on the issue, sources said.

This season, Portland received the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference by winning the Northwest Division with 51 victories. The Blazers were seeded higher than the Grizzlies (No. 5) and Spurs (No. 6), who each won 55 games.

Commissioner Adam Silver, who was present for the meeting, said during his pre-Finals address that giving a seeding advantage to division winners was a rule that could be changed "fairly quickly."

"We are very focused on the divisional seeding process, and I think we are going to take a very close look at whether we should seed at least 1 through 8 by conference as opposed to giving the division winner that higher seed," Silver said. "That is a vestige of a division system that may not make sense anymore."

The committee, made up of owners, general managers and coaches, also discussed a variety of rules and instant replay procedures, including the so-called Hack-a-Shaq rule. No consensus was reached on those issues, or on possible changes to the free-agent moratorium -- a waiting period between free-agent commitments and contract signings. Last week, Clippers free agent DeAndre Jordan committed to sign with Dallas during the moratorium, only to change his mind and re-sign with LA when the signing period began on July 9.

Included in the update on replay procedures was a discussion of ways that the reviews could be accomplished faster. The committee also discussed D-League rules, including the coach's challenge and the ability to advance the ball without calling timeout.

The ownership representatives present were Joe Lacob (Warriors) and Nick Arison (Heat). The GMs were Masai Ujiri (Raptors), R.C. Buford (Spurs) and Sam Presti (Thunder). The coaches were Rick Carlisle (Mavericks) and Doc Rivers (Clippers). Another committee member, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, had other commitments and did not attend the meeting.

Under the proposed changes, Memphis would have been seeded higher that Portland last year. (USATSI)
Under the proposed changes, Memphis would have been seeded higher that Portland last year. (USATSI)
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Ken Berger began covering the NBA when Kobe Bryant was a rookie. Somehow, he'll outlast him. Ken has multiple top-10 finishes in the APSE writing contest and one championship to his credit - the 2015 Metropolitan... Full Bio

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