NBA commissioner David Stern's remarks on "Rome" Tuesday night on CBS may be about as warmly received by players as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's Bountygate suspensions were by the New Orleans Saints.
Asked whether the condensed schedule following the lockout has contributed to the rash of serious injuries, including the knee injury of Chicago Bulls' star Derrick Rose, Stern said (according to quotes distributed by CBS, "There is some part of it that may be related to that. I think some part of it is luck and some part of it is lack of preparedness by our players before the season began. It’s a combination of things.
"The one thing I do know is that we’ve had more lost games because of injuries, because the compressed schedule takes away a day of rest for a minor injury … We’re going to look at the precise numbers at the end of the season and we’ll try to have a view of it because it’s spread out differently as well. Some teams don’t practice. Some teams do. I don’t know whether it relates. Some teams actually worked out with the players alone all summer and some didn’t. We’re going to try to see whether we can learn something from this compressed season in the way that teams approach it."
Asked if he's considering shortening the season, Stern said, "We’re going to certainly look at it and raise the issue with the owners. The reason you don’t make it a shorter year is because of the infrastructure that’s been built. You have all of the buildings that have been selling an 82-game schedule. You have these local TV deals. You have these network TV deals. So, we’d have to negotiate with our players to take 20 percent less every year on the salaries that they’re getting. That is a problem."
As for NBA player participation in the Olympics, Stern told Rome, "I actually am getting closer to Mark’s (Cuban) position, but I don’t agree with him fully. I think out of the competition really means that we would be depriving our athletes of the opportunity to represent their country and showing the rest of the world of basketball that we want to be their partner.
"I do think that the idea that FIFA, the soccer federation, uses, might be a model for us… they only have players 23 (years old) and under for the most part in the Olympic competition. Because I think as our players get older it would be good to relieve them of the duty each year to go back to their countries or represent their countries no matter how many times they’ve done it before by having a more limited participation."