SECAUCUS – (From official news release) – The NBA announced that it will expand use of the Replay Center beginning with the 2016-17 regular season. This season, active referees in the NBA Replay Center will be responsible for determining the outcome of all replay situations except for player altercations and flagrant fouls, which will continue to be decided by on-court referees. Examples of replays that will now be determined by the NBA Replay Center are foul calls coinciding with shot-clock violations as well as clear-path and end-of-quarter fouls.
Last season, the second year for the state-of-the-art NBA Replay Center in Secaucus, N.J., current referees were added to the Replay Center for all games to make decisions on certain replay situations and facilitate the on-court review of others. The Replay Center ruled on 72 percent of all replays and the average review time for all replays was 31.9 seconds, a reduction of nearly 25 percent from the 2014-15 season (42.0 seconds).
Joe Borgia at NBA Replay Center in New Jersey
For the 2016-17 season, on-court referees will continue to trigger all replay reviews. Replays determined by referees in the Replay Center will continue to be communicated to an on-court referee for administration of the call. The current standard for overturning a call made on the floor (“clear and convincing evidence”) will remain for all replay reviews.
The expanded use of the NBA Replay Center was unanimously approved by the Board of Governors. Measures to extend both the coaching box and the players’ substitution box were also approved.
NEW YORK – (From Official News Release) – NBA Digital and NextVR, an industry leader in broadcasting live events in virtual reality, will live stream at least one NBA LEAGUE PASS game per week in virtual reality during the 2016-17 season. This programming marks the first regular schedule of live games delivered in VR by a professional sports league. As part of this multiyear partnership, NextVR becomes the “Official LEAGUE PASS VR Partner of the NBA.”
The first VR game will be available for free – as part of the NBA LEAGUE PASS free trial period – on Oct. 27 when the Sacramento Kings host the San Antonio Spurs at the Golden 1 Center. The full schedule will be announced later this month. Fans with a Samsung Gear VR headset and a compatible Samsung smartphone can experience the free preview by accessing the NBA Channel within the NextVR app. Later this season, the offering will be expanded to support additional VR headset options.
The weekly games will be available as part of the NBA LEAGUE PASS full season package. Whether purchased through a third party distributor or directly through the NBA, fans will be able to authenticate their accounts by inputting their NBA LEAGUE PASS login credentials (obtained at NBA.com or the NBA App) within NextVR’s app.
The VR broadcasts will be fully produced with dedicated announcers, multiple unmanned camera angles and optimized graphics. Game breaks will be filled with in-venue entertainment, behind-the-scenes footage from the arena and VR-specific commentary.
NBA LEAGUE PASS is part of NBA Digital, the NBA’s extensive cross-platform portfolio of digital assets jointly managed by the NBA and Turner Sports.
Last season, NextVR and Turner Sports delivered NBA fans the first live professional sports game in virtual reality on opening night of the 2015-16 NBA season.
BOSTON – (Wire Service Report) – The Boston Celtics might be without guard Marcus Smart at the outset of the regular season due to a sprained left ankle. Smart was injured during Boston’s preseason finale on Wednesday against the New York Knicks. The Celtics open the regular season Wednesday, October 26 against the Brooklyn Nets. Smart left the arena on crutches and wearing a boot on the injured ankle.
“He’s had an ankle sprain or two in the past, but early indications are that it looks like hopefully not too long term,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters.
“We don’t know what it means. We’ll have a better idea in the next couple of days.”
Smart is entering his third NBA season. He averaged 9.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists last season.
MILWAUKEE – (Wire Service Report) – The Milwaukee Bucks are close to trading former Rookie of the Year award-winning point guard Michael Carter-Williams to the Chicago Bulls for reserve forward Tony Snell, multiple outlets reported Saturday night. Carter-Williams, 25, will play for his third NBA team since being selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He has career averages of 14.5 points, 6.1 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 190 career games.
As a rookie, Carter-Williams posted career-high averages of 16.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals in 70 games on a 76ers team that lost 26 consecutive games and won just 19 in the 2013-14 campaign. Carter-Williams was traded to the Bucks midway through his second season, averaging 14.1 points and 5.6 assists in 25 games with Milwaukee after the trade. Last season, the 6-foot-6 point guard posted career-low averages of 11.5 points, 5.2 assists and 5.1 rebounds in 54 games (37 starts).
Snell, a 24-year-old swingman taken by the Bulls with the 20th pick in the same draft class, has spent his entire three-year career in Chicago with averages of 5.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in 213 games.
In 2014-15, Snell started a career-high 33 of his 64 games played and averaged 5.3 points and a career-best 3.1 boards.