NBA: Cavs star James opposes play-off changes

Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James said changing the play-off format changes the landscape of the history of the game.
Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James said changing the play-off format changes the landscape of the history of the game. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James thinks the National Basketball Association (NBA) play-off format is just fine, and talk of tweaking it is misguided.

"I think our league has been built the right way as far as when it comes to the post-season," he said on Wednesday (Feb 21), after the Cavaliers' first practice since the All-Star break.

Western Conference teams have won three of the last four NBA titles, the Cavaliers the only Eastern interlopers in 2016.

The Golden State Warriors won in 2015 and 2017 - beating the Cavs both times - and the San Antonio Spurs won in 2014.

During the All-Star break, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said there had been discussions in the league office about changing the format - perhaps by taking the top eight teams from each conference but re-seeding them 1-16 by overall record or, more dramatically, taking the top 16 regular-season teams regardless of conference.

"It just changes the landscape of the history of the game," James said.

"If you start messing with seedings and play-offs and then you start talking about, 'Well, if this team would have played this Western Conference team, what...'

"It's cool to mess around with the All-Star Game - we proved you can do that - but let's not get too crazy about the play-offs."

He has been to seven straight NBA Finals, winning two titles with the Miami Heat and one with the Cavaliers.

He is not concerned about the recent dominance of the West.

"In the '80s you had the Lakers who dominated the league at one point, then you had Boston. In the '90s you had Chicago.

"San Antonio also had its run. We had our run in the East with Miami, Golden State is having their run."

In discussing possible changes, Silver said the big concern, in his mind, was not tradition but travel - if Eastern and Western teams are facing off in the early rounds.

"We are concerned about teams criss-crossing the country in the first round, for example," he said. "We are just concerned about the overall travel that we would have in the top 16 teams."