NBA commissioner Adam Silver has put “teams on notice” and declared the league will be “paying particular attention” to the issue of tanking as the hype surrounding Victor Wembanyama continues to grow.
The 7-foot-4 French star is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft and was described by Silver as a “once-in-a-generation player” in a recent discussion with Phoenix Suns employees.
The Suns are not expected to be one of several teams competing in the ‘Tankathon’ for Wembanyama but nonetheless, Wembanyama was a topic of discussion.
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Silver’s warning was revealed in a report from ESPN, which claimed that one Suns employee asked the commissioner about the potential impact tanking could have this season.
In response, Silver called it a “serious issue” and said it had already prompted “hundreds” of meetings to try figure out how to address it.
“We put teams on notice,” Silver told employees.
“We’re going to be paying particular attention to the issue this year.”
Silver went on to explain that the possibility of relegation was brought up as one of way of incentivising the lesser teams to compete but ultimately opted against that idea.
“It would so disrupt our business model,” Silver told employees, revealing such a plan would see teams relegated to the G League with the best from the G League taking their place.
“And even if you took two teams up from the G League, they wouldn’t be equipped to compete in the NBA.
“It’s [tanking] something we have to watch for. 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.”