The NBA board has voted to move the trade deadline to the second Thursday in February, and will be making several changes to the league’s timeout rules. While the deadline move will force teams to complete trades earlier, it allows players to have more time to gel with their new team before the playoffs. The details surrounding the restrictions to timeouts and game flow are intricate enough to include the modifications in their entirety:
- Each team will have seven timeouts per game, with no restrictions per half.
- All team timeouts will be 75 seconds. In the previous format, “full” timeouts were 90 seconds and “20-second” timeouts were 60 seconds. Both “full” and “20-second” timeouts have been replaced by team timeouts.
- All four periods will have two mandatory timeouts, which will take place after the first stoppage under the seven- and three-minute marks.
- The under-nine-minute mandatory timeouts in the second and fourth periods will be eliminated.
- Each team can enter the fourth period with up to four team timeouts.
- Each team will be limited to two team timeouts after the later of (i) the three-minute mark of the fourth period or (ii) the resumption of play after the second mandatory timeout of the fourth period.
- Each team will have two team timeouts per overtime period; previously teams had three.
The NBA also made the following changes regarding game flow:
- Referees will assess a delay-of-game violation if a free throw shooter ventures beyond the three-point line between attempts.
- Halftime will last 15 minutes for all games, beginning immediately upon expiration of the second period. A delay-of-game penalty will be issued if a team is not ready to start play at the expiration of the halftime clock.
Will that mean Pop will be calling fewer timeouts 15 seconds into a quarter, as soon as somebody makes a mistake on exactly what he was talking about during the break? Don’t count on it.
More on this as we digest these changes and generate some opinions about them.