CINCINNATI — LeBron James is aware the NBA will shorten the number of minutes in an upcoming preseason game, but wishes the league would consider something else.
"It’s not the minutes, it’s the games," James said prior to the Cavaliers’ game against the Indiana Pacers at Xavier University on Wednesday.
A regulation NBA game is 48 minutes, or four 12-minute quarters. On Oct. 19, the league will stage a 44-minute exhibition between the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics.
But James said the consensus among the players he’s spoken with is the amount of games — not the length — is what should be addressed. The NBA regular-season schedule has consisted of 82 games since 1967-68.
"The minutes don’t mean anything," he said. "We can play 50-minute games if we had to. It’s the games that I think we all as players think is too many games in our season. Eighty-two games are a lot."
In other words, when it comes to preserving the players, less may be more, according to James.
"Once you go out and play on the floor, it doesn’t matter if you’re playing 22 minutes or you play 40 minutes," he said. "Once you play, it takes a toll on your body. So it’s not less minutes, it’s games."
The idea of shortening the length of games was first broached last month at the NBA coaches’ meeting. Among the reasons for considering such a modification: The well-being of the guys on the floor.
"It’s worth a try," Cavs coach David Blatt said of the concept.
LeBron feels the same about the possibility of slicing the schedule.
"At the end of the day, we want to protect the prize and the prize is the players," James said. "We have to continue to promote the game and if guys are being injured because there are so many games, then we can’t promote it at a high level."
James used recent injuries to Pacers star Paul George (broken leg) and Oklahoma City Thunder forward and reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant (broken bone in foot) as examples.
"We got two of our top guys in our league out right now," James said. "I’m not saying it’s because of the games, but anything will help."
And yes, LeBron realizes less games likely means less revenue. And no, he did not come up with a solution off the top of his head. But he did suggest that, eventually, shortening the schedule is something the players and league officials should discuss.
"It’s something that we definitely will have to sit down and try to figure out," he said.