During his press conference before the start of the Finals, Adam Silver mentioned a possible change to the NBA's cap structure in response to two separate questions.
Silver was first asked about the NBA's pursuit of parity under his administration in light of the Warriors playing the Cavaliers in the Finals for the fourth straight season.
"But underlying that question, of course, is the notion of parity," said Silver. "And I’ll deal with it directly. I’ll say that as a league you’re constantly looking to design systems that help to achieve parity, but the notion in this league is parity of opportunity. As I said, I don’t want to take anything away from the spectacular achievements from ownership throughout management that it takes to get these players here, and of course from the players themselves and the enormous amount of hard work that goes into it.
"Also, on the other hand, you could do more to achieve parity, but you also don’t want parity of mediocrity either. So you look to find the right balance as a league, and it’s something we always continue to look at. But I will just add, as I said earlier, I looked this up. LeBron, now over the course of the last eight Finals, has played with 59 different players. So even if you were looking to design a system to try to create more parity, just take it in the East, I’m not sure what else you would do.
"I will add something, and it’s no secret we looked at for a long time — we have a soft cap system. And you have two teams here who are both, with their tax, the highest salaried, highest payroll teams in the league. That’s something we’ll continue to look at. But that’s for another day."
Silver later compared the NBA's struggles with parity to the NFL.
"Again, the only slight pivot I’d make from your question is I view it as a quality of opportunity as opposed to an NFL-type parity, because I think it’s a different game where there truly is an “any given Sunday” notion, frankly, despite the Patriots’ incredible success over the last decade and a half," said Silver. "I think they’ve achieved a kind of parity, and hat’s off to them. It may be they’re able to do it through their collective bargaining system or something that I’m missing. But I think it’s fundamentally a different game.
"My point before, if you have LeBron James playing with 59 different players over eight years, it means that presumably the team LeBron is on is going to be a dominant team. Whether they get to The Finals every year is a separate issue. Not to take anything away from strong coaching and general managing and ownership at that team, but you have certain players in our league that are so transcendent that their team is always probably going to be in the hunt.
"I would also say about the Warriors, again, it’s a team largely built through the draft and some strategic trades. Again, I watch, as I look at our teams investing enormous resources in coaching, in facilities, analytics, they certainly believe there is something more than just putting players on the floor.
"In fairness to Golden State, there is something special going on here. But now, in terms of overall parity, I guess I’ll go back to where I started: Can our system be improved upon? I think it can. I think it’s something we’re constantly looking at.
"As I said, ideally, at least from the league standpoint, and these are things we need to talk to our Players Association about, that you still have two teams that are significantly above, not just the cap, but the tax. So one of, presumably, the elements that creates a bit more parity in the NFL, one of the factors other than the game, is they have a so-called hard cap. We don’t have that."
In comparing the NFL's parity to the NBA's, however, Silver didn't acknowledge how his league's seven-game playoff structure typically decreases variance.