MJ mystified by shorter season talk

Michael Jordan was surprised and a bit bewildered to hear LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki suggest Wednesday that they'd like to see theNBA's 82-game regular season shortened.

"I love both of those guys, but as an owner who played the game, I loved playing,'' Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Hornets, told ESPN during a telephone interview. "If I wasn't playing 82 games, I still would've been playing somewhere else because that's the love for the game I had. As a player, I never thought 82 games was an issue.

"But if that's what they want to do, we as owners and players can evaluate it and talk about it. But we'd make less money as partners. Are they ready to give up money to play fewer games? That's the question, because you can't make the same amount of money playing fewer games.''

When asked about the NBA's experiment with a 44-minute exhibition game Sunday, as opposed to the usual 48 minutes, James and Nowitzki said they'd prefer a shorter season to shorter games.

"It's not the minutes, it's the games," James said before the Cavaliers' preseason victory over Indiana. "The minutes doesn't mean anything. We can play 50-minute games if we had to. It's just the games. We all as players think it's too many games. In our season, 82 games is a lot.''

Nowitzki said he'd recommend that the season be cut from 82 games to the "mid-60s.''

Jordan also didn't see the point in shortening games by four minutes.

He said the league informed its clubs of its intention to play a 44-minute game but that it was not presented as something the league is seriously considering instituting in the regular season.

"I would never shorten the game by four minutes,'' Jordan said,"unless guys were having physical issues.''

Jordan said basketball players generally don't incur the same long-term physical ailments as football players so he can't understand the talk of a shorter season or shorter games.

"It's not like football,'' he said. "We don't really have to worry about concussions and some of the physical damage that football players deal with after they retire. I can understand football players wanting to play fewer games from a physical standpoint. But basketball's not the same. I'm not diminishing the fact that we go through a grueling season. But I wouldn't want to shorten the game or play 15-20 fewer games.''

Both James and Nowitzki said they understood a shorter season would cut the league's revenue and therefore the players' salaries.

"I think you don't need 82 games to determine the best eight in each conference," Nowitzki said. "That could be done a lot quicker, but I always understand that it's about money, and every missed game means missed money for [all] parties -- for the league, for the owners, for the players. I understand all that, and that's why I don't think it's going to change anytime soon."

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