NBA reduces number of timeouts in final three minutes of game

The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — The NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved some changes that will potentially eliminate four timeouts per game, help speed up the final minutes of games and emphasize a timely resumption of play after halftime.

All changes go into effect in the upcoming season, the league said Wednesday.

The 2017-18 regular season is scheduled to begin on Oct. 20.

Teams will be limited to two timeouts in the final three minutes of a game, instead of having up to three. All four quarters will have two mandatory timeouts, after the 7- and 3-minute marks.

“We’re pretty happy with the length of the game,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. “We were more focused here on the pace and flow of the game. What we heard from our fans, what we heard from many of our teams, was that the end of the games in particular were too choppy. And I think since I was a kid, that was an issue people were talking about, the last two minutes of a game.”

Silver said the full complement of commercial-showing opportunities will still be available to the league’s broadcast partners, and that the league doesn’t believe player in-game rest will be affected by speeding up some aspects.

The league also changed the trade deadline, moving it up so teams would not have rosters significantly altered during the All-Star break. This season’s deadline will be Feb. 8 — 10 days before the All-Star Game in Los Angeles. Under the old system the deadline would have been Feb. 22.

Additionally, halftimes will be 15 minutes and delay-of-game penalties will be issued to teams not immediately ready to play after intermission.

Silver also said it’s too early to say if the NBA is concerned about the chance that 10 or more teams could be in the luxury tax for the 2018-19 season.