(Reuters) - The NBA moved quickly to play down an ESPN report that the league was exploring the possibility of introducing a four-point shot and increasing the dimensions of the court to accommodate the increased athleticism of players.
“No one at the NBA, nor the competition committee, has had any serious conversations about increasing the size of the floor or adding a four-point line,” league spokesman Tim Frank said in a statement on Tuesday.
In an interview with ESPN.com during the All-Star break, NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn and vice president Kiki VanDeWeghe acknowledged that the league office had informally weighed the possibility of making such changes.
They spoke of the concepts mostly from a hypothetical standpoint but conceded that both ideas have been presented for discussion at a league level, ESPN said.
The report brought a pointed response from Frank.
“Rod Thorn and Kiki VanDeWeghe were entertaining a line of questioning about out of the box ideas and ESPN.com chose to make a story that doesn’t exist,” he said.
The NBA has employed a 94 feet by 50 feet court since the 1940s.
“Making the court bigger - it’s an interesting idea and we’ve actually looked at it,” former NBA All-Star player and head coach VanDeWeghe said in the interview.
“We keep a list of ideas on what we should do and how we can make the game better, of course. But arenas are obviously built in a certain way and that would take a lot of adjusting to actually make the court bigger.”
Thorn also raised the issue of spectator proximity.
“Those seats that are very close to the court are obviously very expensive seats to start out with. And most of them come right up to the floor,” said the longtime former NBA general manager.
“You could probably extend it lengthwise easier than you can sideways. So there are a lot of things you have to look at there.”
The NBA adopted the three-point shot from the old American Basketball Association starting in the 1979-80 season.
As for the prospect of a four-point shot, Thorn said that too, was “something that’s come up” as an informal proposal.
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Gene Cherry/John O'Brien