Game Game

NBA boss: No fears of FIFA-style corruption

 NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, pictured during a press conference in New York, on April 13, 2015
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, pictured during a press conference in New York, on April 13, 2015

OAKLAND, June 5- NBA commissioner Adam Silver has no worries about a FIFA-style corruption scandal in basketball, saying Thursday that transparency and audits help keep the global governing body FIBA honest.

Football governing body FIFA has seen top officials charged with fraud and money laundering by US authorities in a scandal that prompted the resignation of president Sepp Blatter earlier this week.

But open financial records and moves from FIBA’s directors, which includes an NBA representative, have Silver confident in the sport’s security from scandal.

“There has been absolutely no suggestion that our federation, FIBA, has been corrupted in any way,” Silver said. “That has never been an issue with what’s going on with FIBA. We’re very confident in the way FIBA is being handled right now.

“We feel very good about the future of our sport.”

Speaking just before the opening game of the NBA Finals, Silver said he would like to see the NBA take advantage of growing interest in the game in Australia, especially with two players from Down Under — Golden State’s Andrew Bogut and Cleveland’s Matthew Dellavedova — in the best-of-seven championship series.

“We would love to play a game in Australia,” Silver said. “We are seeing a surge in popularity (there). We see it in digital metrics. We would love to be back there.”

Silver also hopes to make inroads in Russia, with Cavaliers center Timofey Mozgov the first player from his homeland in the NBA Finals and his coach, Dave Blatt, a former coach in Russia.

“It comes down to hard work,” Silver said. “We have to do a better job building our business in Russia. We’re going to redouble our efforts.”

There are pressing league issues as well. NBA teams will have a salary cap jump from about $67 million next season to $90 million the following season when the NBA’s record new nine-year television contract begins. Silver says the league will not try to control what teams can do until they see what happens.

“Our smart teams figure out approaches we just can’t possibly model,” he said. “Without knowing how teams are going to react to this massive amount of cap room that we’ll have coming into the league, we’ll have to wait and see.”

With either side able to opt out of the NBA-union deal in 2017, Silver said he would like to start talks quickly.

“The league is doing incredibly well,” Silver said. “I think it would be constructive to sit down sooner rather than later and see what changes need to be made.”

One change he expects might be coming is seeding teams without regard to division champions taking the tree top spots in each conference.

“That’s a vestige of a division system that may not make sense anymore,” said Silver.

– Injuries not on the rise –

Injuries have nagged star players this season but Silver said data shows no more overall injuries than past seasons.

“The injury data is not showing this is a worse year for injuries than last year,” said Silver. “That said, there were more high profile players injured than last year. It’s something we’re very focused on.”

The league has eased scheduling and travel for teams to try and avoid overtaxing players in the six-month season and calls the new concussion program that recently was tested by NBA Most Valuable Player Steph Curry and his Golden State teammate Klay Thompson as “best in class” when compared to other US sports leagues.