NBA Commissioner Hints At Things NHL Might Want To Pay Attention To

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver held a press conference before the NBA Finals. some isues facing the NBA are things th NHL might want to keep tabs on, as well.
Feb 17, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; NBA Commissioner Adam Silver talks to media during a press conference before NBA All Star Saturday Night at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 17, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; NBA Commissioner Adam Silver talks to media during a press conference before NBA All Star Saturday Night at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Finals and Stanley Cup finals always take place around the same time in June right before the start of the summer. We recently wrote an article that referenced how some lucky cities have had their NHL and NBA team compete for a championship at the same time. The Miami/South Florida region was the latest example last season when the Miami Heat and Florida Panthers made their respective league championships.

This year’s finals is between the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics. The Stars came close, but not close enough, to giving Dallas two teams to root for. Before game one of the NBA Finals on Thursday, Commissioner Adam Silver held his annual press conference. Even if the press conference was about the NBA, there were a few tidbits the NHL might want to take a look at. Here’s a few of those ideas:


Silver said NBA expansion is the “next order of business” and mentioned the league will look beyond the United States, but not just in Canada. The NHL and NBA both had thirty teams until the latest round of NHL expansion brought the Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken into the league. The NBA likely watched closely and will have their decision influenced by the NHL’s success in expanding into those markets.

The idea of expanding outside of the United States is an interesting one because it would show the NBA and NHL going on different paths. The NHL has avoided Canadian markets for expansion due to economic and currency concerns between the United States and Canadian dollar. The league has even shown some concern with the Winnipeg Jets, relocated to Canada in 2012, as their region experiences some economic hardship. The NHL has seven teams in Canada, compared to the NBA’s one. The NBA used to have a team in Vancouver until they moved to Memphis in 2001 to become the Memphis Grizzlies.

The NBA could also be setting its eyes on Mexico. “Should the NHL play games in Mexico” is a question some fans, including ourselves, have asked but we’ve never seen the league take real traction towards.  The NBA already has a G-League (their minor league) team in Mexico. If the NBA decides to expand into Mexico don’t expect the NHL to consider the same, but maybe take a more serious look at marketing and growing the game in the region.

Game Requirements

Last season the NBA implemented a "65 game" rule that a player must play in at least 65 games to be considered for league awards, such as MVP. This was mainly designed to cut back on teams “load management” of players leaving them out of marquee matchups. Silver expressed his support for the rule at his press conference.

The NHL has no such rule, but imagine if it did. Imagine if “games played” was a state considered for the Ted Lindsay and Hart Memorial Trophy. It would be a pretty fair tie breaker for two candidates that writers couldn’t chose between. Then again, the notion of “load management” doesn’t really happen in the NHL, so we don’t need a rule policing against it.

Automated Calls

One sport is played with orange balls, the other with pucks, but both have fans that complain about the referee’s calls. Silver explained that the league is looking at “automating” some calls, such as out of bounds calls, using sensors and available data:

“"There's a category of objective calls that you can not only take off the floor but frankly out of the replay center," Silver said. "'Buzz, Celtic ball,' because it's automated, foot on the line. [Or technology could determine] which one of the hundred fingers on the floor touched the ball last at that time. As I said, they're working through that. But technology will solve that, and I think it's the same for replay."

Sounds like that technology would be pretty useful in offsides calls and if the puck completely crossed the goal line. Prior to the 2022-2023 season the NHL talked about using the new puck and data technology for penalty calls. The new technology has been used for broadcast purposes, including the NHL’s “Big City Greens Classic” with Disney branded television. The technology has been used to track player stats. Major League Baseball seems to be getting closer to finally having an automatic “robo-ump” in the big leagues. Yet, the NHL is still waiting to use this technology to fix their officiating problems.