Adam Silver says Hack-a-Shaq not entertaining, expects talk of change

ByTim Macmahon Via <a Href="http://espn.go.com/" Title="espn" Class="espn_sc_byline">espn </a>
April 24, 2015, 8:02 PM

&#151; -- DALLAS -- NBA commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN.com that he expects the league to have "full-throated conversations" this summer about potentially implementing rules to eliminate the Hack-a-Shaq strategy from the game.

Silver acknowledged the strategy of intentionally fouling poor free throw shooters -- which originally started against retired superstar center Shaquille O'Neal -- is not enjoyable to watch. However, he expressed the need for caution when considering changing the rules of the game.

"It's something that I'm on the fence about," Silver told ESPN.com minutes before tipoff of Friday night's Game 3 in the Dallas Mavericks- Houston Rockets series. "My thought used to be that we should definitely change the rule, and then having sat through several general managers meetings, competition meetings and having heard from some of the game's very best, the view is the players should hit their free throws. That's changed my view a little bit.

"Having said that, when I watch some of these games on television, frankly, it's not great entertainment for our fans, and that's important as well. What I've said is we have another general managers meeting coming up in May, we have a competition committee meeting in June, and I'm sure it's going to be a hot topic of discussion. Then, we have an owners meeting in July, so I think at all three of those meetings we're going to be having full-throated conversations about what the right rules should be going forward."

Silver, who replaced the retired David Stern as commissioner in February 2014, acknowledged that the discussion is "in part" about weighing the value of entertainment and strategy.

It's been a talking point during the playoffs, with the San Antonio Spurs sending the Los Angeles Clippers' DeAndre Jordan to the foul line 17 times in a playoff victory earlier this week.

"I really don't know. I think we're clearly going to look at it, and even though I have D.J. [Jordan], I still go back and forth on it," Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters before Friday night's Game 3 against the Spurs. "I was put on the committee to look at what's good for the league, not our team, and it's still a tough one for me even though it's obvious for everyone. Every ref, every game it starts, he [Jordan] looks over at me and says, 'You guys have to stop this.'"

Rivers' conflicted opinion of the strategy mirrored Silver's.

"It's a tough one for me. I go back and forth on it because I look at the other side as if you make it, they won't do it," Rivers said. "That's too simple, I think, and I think fans watching it, I don't think it's that enjoyable to watch and we're all waiting for the game where a team has one [poor free throw shooter] on each team and the coaches go back and forth and do it. The game is going to last forever, No. 1, and it would be ugly to watch, so that's my answer."

Silver reiterated his awareness and responsibility of the balance between protecting how the game is played and creating a compelling product.

"But at the end of the day, it's about the game," Silver said. "I used to run something called NBA Entertainment, but I always remind myself in my job now as commissioner and managing the league office, it's the game above all. So I think we have to [determine] what makes the most sense for the game.

"That's why I'm sensitive about guys being able to make their free throws, and I also find that sometimes it's a fascinating strategy," Silver said. "We're very conservative when it comes to changing the rules of the game. That's why changing the rules of the game requires more than the majority of the owners; it requires a super majority. So we've got to be very careful, but it is something that we're looking at closely."

LeBron James weighed in on the issue Saturday, saying he doesn't mind the strategy.

"I don't mind it," he said. "I mean, it's part of the game. If it's something that's part of the game and it's part of the game plan, then go for it."

James' coach, David Blatt, disagreed with the Cavaliers' superstar's take.

"I think [the strategy] is more than unsavory, to be honest with you," Blatt said. "I really think that's something that needs to be revisited and changed."

ESPNLosAngeles.com's Arash Markazi and ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.

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