Adam Silver said NBA has thought about relegation, a concept in European soccer, as a potential solution.

Credit: AP – Scanpix
Credit AP – Scanpix

NBA commissioner Adam Silver discussed various topics this week during a Q&A session in the Phoenix Suns' arena, where Silver also apologized multiple times on behalf of the league office to a large group of Suns employees for workplace misconduct under majority team owner Robert Sarver.

During the meeting, one employee asked Silver about tanking, a theme that is widely expected to dominate the league conversation with 7-foot-4 French unicorn Victor Wembanyama.

"We put teams on notice," Silver told employees, via Baxter Holmes of ESPN. "We're going to be paying particular attention to the issue this year."

Speaking of a concept in European soccer, Silver told employees that the league has thought about relegation as a potential solution to ensure the worst-performing teams are motivated to compete.

But the commissioner then said relegation would be a "destabilizing" practice within the league.

Relegation would essentially mean demoting the worst one or two teams to the G League while promoting the best team or two from the G League to the NBA.

"It would so disrupt our business model," Silver said. "And even if you took two teams up from the G League, they wouldn't be equipped to compete in the NBA.

"It [tanking] is something we have to watch for," the NBA commissioner added. "A draft is, in principle, a good system. But I get it, especially when there is a sense that a once-in-a-generation player is coming along, like we have this year.

"Teams are smarter, they are creative, and they respond -- we move, they move -- so we're always looking to see whether there's yet a better system," Silver told employees.

The executive also addressed a question about league expansion, which he told Suns employees the league will look at more closely once it is through its upcoming television rights negotiations.

The league's current national television deal with both ESPN and Turner Sports is set to expire at the end of the 2024-25 season.

"In order to evaluate any teams coming in, we need to know where we stand from a media standpoint; that's obviously our most significant form of revenue overall," Silver said, per ESPN.

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