MIAMI — The NBA is considering giving head coaches a second challenge of an official’s call if the first challenge of the game is successful.
Byron Spruell, the league’s president of basketball operations, said the idea would be discussed further during Thursday’s meeting with the NBA’s competition committee.
“We’re absolutely looking at it,” Spruell said during ESPN’s “NBA Today” on Wednesday. “The competition committee over the summer will review it. It’s still a process. We have to get it through a board [of governors] vote over the summer, test it as well, but we feel like it’s an incremental movement that we would potentially like to see.”
The league introduced the coaches’ challenge in 2019-20, allowing a head coach to trigger an instant replay review of a called personal foul charged to his team, a called out-of-bounds violation, or a called goaltending or basket interference violation. (Reviews of out-of-bounds, goaltending and basket interference calls in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime are exclusively triggered by referees and are not subject to coaches’ challenges.)
Under the current rule, coaches are limited to one challenge per game. A successful challenge results in the team being allowed to keep the timeout that was used to trigger the review. Coaches typically are hesitant to challenge a call earlier in games, even if it’s clearly wrong, because they want to reserve that option for crunch-time situations.
Under the proposal, the team would be allowed to keep its timeout with a successful challenge and be given another challenge to use later in the game.
“There’s an appetite for it,” Spruell said. “We’ll see where it comes down.”
Spruell also said the league office is considering using technology to ensure timely accuracy on out-of-bounds and goaltending calls in the final two minutes of games. Those will be tested during the NBA’s summer leagues.
“We always want to get those calls right, and the timing and accuracy of those are important,” Spruell said. “Those are areas where they’re more objective and technology can take a look at those, and that’d be assisted by the replay center. So some opportunity for technology to be viewed in the replay center, assisted first, and then be able to make those calls to the officials on the court.
“Now, over time, maybe those even become more automated, like you see in tennis, like you see in baseball, like you see in even soccer. So we’re excited by the innovation there and what it could potentially lead to, including for our referees, taking that focus off of those objective calls and letting them get to more complex, more real-time and more judgment-type, subjective calls and shifting their focus.”