NBA Needs Conference Realignment


The NBA has a scheduling problem, and a traveling problem. Conference and division realignment is one step towards helping that problem.

Among the many characteristics that makes Adam Silver a great commissioner is his open-mindedness to change. He has already made some great executive decisions for the NBA, and has the approval of many.

The next change that needs to be made is conference realignment. Let’s face it, the NBA has a scheduling problem, which leads to a traveling problem. Over the course of an 82-game season, players get tired out easily playing three-to-four games per week from October to April.

For example, the Cleveland Cavaliers will play 17 back-to-backs during the 2016-17 NBA season. Only one of those back-to-backs leaves the Cavs at home for the two games. Additionally, five of those back-to-backs will be while they are already on the road.

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That isn’t easy for any team. Playing 34 games on consecutive nights certainly takes it’s toll on players. It’s a reason why San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has rested his starters on back-to-backs to keep them fresh for the playoffs. It’s a reason why LeBron James took two weeks off during the heart of the 2014-15 season.

While NBA Expansion could help this case, conference and division realignment needs to come first. It starts with shifting teams around on the conference level, which will impact the divisional level, too.

It’s never going to be easy to perfect the schedule and traveling, but there are ways to make it easier.

An easy move to make would be making sure teams in the Eastern portion of the United States are in the Eastern Conference. Yes, that means the Memphis Grizzlies need to be moved.

The problem then becomes, which team do you move to the Western Conference? While it doesn’t make the most geographical sense, the Milwaukee Bucks are the furthest West team in the Eastern Conference. It isn’t ideal, but the Bucks could join the Northwest Division and force a four-game season rivalry with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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That move makes the most sense in terms of conference realignment, and is probably the only move that should happen immediately. If the NBA were to expand, whether it’s by two teams or four, it could really improve conference realignment and travel plans.

Adding two teams to the Western half of the country would allow for the Bucks and Timberwolves to move to the Eastern Conference, to make more sense geographically.

Expanding with Seattle getting the Supersonics back and potentially adding a team in Las Vegas, Kansas City or St. Louis, among other possible destinations, would make the NBA much better in terms of scheduling and traveling.

The NBA is never going to be perfect in terms of scheduling, but with the amount of travel involved, there are ways to tweak that and make improvements. One of those is conference realignment, which can be aided by expanding.

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Do you agree, or disagree with our realignment proposal? Let us know in the comments section or on Twitter @KJG_NBA. If you’d like to pitch a story idea to Site Expert Aaron Ferguson, email him at