Breaking news: 13-man NBA rosters to become permanent; Waiver rules could be altered

ORLANDO – NBA rosters are going to stay at 13, permanently.

The league’s competition committee met Friday and will recommend two rules changes to the Board of Governors, including one that will make 13-man active rosters permanent and another that would change the waiver wire rules and give teams 48 hours to put in a claim — and not just on weekdays.

League vice president Stu Jackson said representatives from the 30 NBA teams voted unanimously to recommend making the current 13-man active rosters permanent for next season and beyond. Prior to this season, teams could have only 12 active players and up to three inactive players, but this season — because of the lockout shortened schedule — teams have been allowed to dress and use 13 players.

General managers and coaches like the added flexibility of having another player in uniform, hence the move to make 13-man rosters permanent.

“The sentiment amongst the committee is you’re required to have a 13-man roster as it is, and if you’re required to have a 13-man roster, you should be able to dress and have their services available,” Jackson said.

On the proposed change to the waiver rule, which will require the consent of the players’ union, the waiver process would be significantly altered for the first time in eons.

Currently, the league sends out a memo to all 30 teams at 10 a.m.,  2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday announcing whether anyone has been waived, and teams then have 48 business hours — which excludes Saturdays and Sundays — to put in a claim. Thus, a player waived at 6 p.m. Friday under the current system cannot clear waivers until 6 p.m. the following Tuesday.

Under the proposed new system, there would be one waiver wire each day at 5 p.m. Eastern time, and the 48-hour clock would immediately begin ticking.

“The rule as it was crafted before has a long history. Back in the day there was different technology, stuff like Telexes, and now today in the digital age there’s not a whole lot of reason why we shouldn’t do it,” Jackson said.

The committee also discussed ways to speed up the pace of play, and one area in which they will consider issuing delay of game warnings will be when a player attempting two free throws walks too far away from the foul line (often to slap hands with teammates, regardless of whether the first attempt was made, and sometimes wandering toward midcourt).

Jackson also said scoring was down from an average of 99.3 points per game per team to 95.0, with half of the decrease attributable to fewer fouls being called (2.7 fewer per game than last season). That has resulted in 2.3 fewer free throw attempts per team, and points scored on foul shots have dropped 2.1 this season.


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