Adam Silver Talks Suns, Draft Lottery, Marijuana

Appearing on Howard Beck’s podcast, The Full 48, NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed a handful of issues facing the league, weighing in on the Suns‘ arena situation, the NBA’s draft lottery, and the league’s marijuana policy, among other topics.

Here are some of the highlights from the discussion:

On the Suns’ arena situation and the concept of relocation in general:

  • Silver says he has made it clear that it’d be a “failure” on his part if an NBA team moves out of its current market, and he doesn’t expect that to happen with the Suns. “If I can be helpful, I will be to all parties there,” Silver said, referring to the Suns and the Phoenix City Council. “But I’m pretty confident they’re going to sit down and work out a deal.”
    [RELATED: Robert Sarver: Suns won’t move out of Phoenix]
  • In the Suns’ case, the issue will come down to how much money the city is willing to put toward those renovations to Talking Stick Resort Arena. Silver, referring to arenas as “modern-day town halls,” argues that a public/private funding partnership makes sense because NBA games make up only a fraction of the events that take place at those arenas.
  • Silver points out that Phoenix’s arena is the oldest one in the NBA that hasn’t been either rebuilt or renovated over the years, adding that it’s in need of an upgrade.

On the draft lottery:

  • It’s still “unclear” how effective the NBA’s changes to the draft lottery will be, according to Silver, who cautions that he views the recent tweaks as an incremental improvement rather than a “cure-all.”
  • The NBA is constantly looking for ways to improve its system, but unless the league is willing to take drastic measures to revamp how teams can acquire players coming into the NBA (ie. abolishing the lottery or the draft itself), there’s only so much that can be done to adjust the format, says Silver.
  • The commissioner also tells Beck that he’s unconvinced that “tanking” for multiple years is the best way to go about rebuilding, given the toll it takes on a team’s culture and fan base.
  • Silver referred to “The Wheel,” an idea from Celtics executive Mike Zarren which would see a team rotate through all 30 draft positions over 30 years, with those positions set well in advance. However, Silver suggests it’d be a bad look for the league for championship teams to end up with top picks, given the fan outrage when the Warriors signed DeMarcus Cousins this past offseason.

On the NBA’s marijuana ban:

  • The NBA is having ongoing discussions with the players’ union about the league’s rules surrounding marijuana, according to Silver. “I don’t want to speak for [union head] Michele Roberts, but I think she and I have a somewhat similar view on this, which is we should follow the science,” Silver said. “This is not an ethical issue for me. It’s not a moral issue for me. I obviously see what’s happening in states around America. I think there’s a bunch of unique issues for the NBA.”
  • The fact that various states across the country have different regulations and rules regarding marijuana use makes things trickier for the NBA, according to Silver, who points out that there are still federal laws prohibiting traveling with marijuana.
  • Silver also notes that the league’s marijuana ban may – in some cases – result in players turning to alcohol or prescription drugs, which might actually be worse for the player that marijuana would be.
  • Ultimately, the NBA wants more input from experts before making any changes, but Silver acknowledges that the league may eventually alter its position.

On changing the NBA’s entry age:

  • Silver reiterates that the earliest the NBA would change its entry age would be for the 2022 draft, which has been previously reported.
  • Silver views 2022 as a reasonable target for those changes if the NBA and players’ union can get something done within “the next few months.” If there’s no significant progress in those talks by the time the 2019 draft is approaching, the timeline may need to be pushed back further, says Silver.
  • In concert with the negotiations on the NBA’s entry age, the league will likely be looking to create regulations about the availability of prospects’ medical information during the pre-draft process — Silver would like to see all teams have equitable access to that info, as opposed to top prospects withholding it from specific clubs.
  • Silver believes the NBA G League will get up to 30 teams within “the next two years or so.” Currently, 27 clubs have NBAGL affiliates.
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17 thoughts on “Adam Silver Talks Suns, Draft Lottery, Marijuana

  1. x%sure

    Marijuana is probably healthy as an unwinder after a game. . . you don’t even have to compare it to harder drugs.

    In the NFL, IMO, the players union pretty much sold out THC use, because it is viewed as a drug that softens a player & thus is not respected. Nobody really comes out and says that, neither is it denied, one of those kinds of things.

  2. x%sure

    “The Wheel” will never roll out nor should it.

    Better idea, a postseason draft-order tournament.
    More revenue, and the only tank level conceivably would be playoff/notplayoff, and slim odds of that. There would be no need for 7-game series, just single elim… Be over in 10 days. It would give a few sad teams something positive to end the season with! (Not an original idea)

    Sounds like the renewal of 18-yos in the draft will be pushed farther than 2022. Good

    • bowserhound

      Non-playoff teams should have an NBA 2k tourney for draft placement since their real life teams can’t play well enough.

    • jkoms57


      free agency draft classes.

      Tanking for the most draft money won’t always pay off since players can still choose to not sign with you.

      It would make the NBA more like Pro-AAU.. which is DEF what we’d want to see.

      1. Cavs – up to 20Mil
      2. PHX – up to 18Mil
      3. ATL – up to 17Mil
      4. CHI – up to 15.5Mil
      5. NY – up to 13.5Mil
      6. WAS – up to 12.5Mil
      7. Min – up to 11Mil
      8. Bkn – up to 9 Mil
      9. ORL – up to 8 Mil
      10.NO – up to 6.5Mil

      And just keep following that format of

      Prob even allow to split the budget so say Cavs could sign two 10Mil guys from the same school etc etc.

      Teams could really deploy cool strategies on how to use their budget.

      • jkoms57

        And your crazy if you think the best player isn’t going to settle for 2Mil less I’m most cases.

        And sure sometimes there’s guys who would favor a certain scenario and take a little less.

        But that’s what we want to see anyways. Why should the NBA have to rig lotteries to land Lonzo in LA, Rose in Chicago, Ewing in NY etc.

        If it makes too much sense then the player will choose it over more money anyways with an eye for more money down the Rd

  3. bennyg

    Surely players can not smoke weed for the duration of the season, it’s not that hard of an ask to professional athletes, and is only a small sacrifice for the short time they get to play professionally sports, particularly with the insane amounts these players get paid!
    #SuckItUp #BeAnAdult

    • Connorsoxfan

      If they get busted for it in the offseason they get suspended currently. Let them do what they want as long as it’s legal.

  4. Spyglass1

    Is 2022 same year LeBrons sons graduates HS and LeBrons next free agency?

  5. jorge78

    Oh EFFF! Silver on the pot ban.
    It’s stupid and unconstitutional (I can put what I want in my body). Plus it’s racist. It was put into law back in the day to stop jazz musicians from scoring white women. It’s just wrong on so many levels!

  6. Dodgethis

    The only news anyone should care about from dam silver is how much longer we have put up with him. When will the league dump this loser and get a real commissioner who isn’t going to destroy the league? #yourefired

    • Conservative alert! Conservative alert! It’s called being progressive. You have to change with the times, i.e. marijuana is NOT a gateway drug. Silver is the best commissioner across all sports and we should all be thankful that that little troll David Stern – who singlehandedly cost the Phoenix Suns an NBA Championship – isn’t around anymore to screw the Phoenix Suns out of Championships.

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