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NBA eliminates four timeouts to speed up games, pushes up trade deadline

By MATT GOUL • Jul 14, 2017 at 10:30 AM

CLEVELAND — NBA games should be faster next season.

The trade deadline also will come more quickly.

The league's board of governors unanimously approved Wednesday rules changes that will decrease the maximum number of timeouts to 14 in a game. Through last season, games could have up to 18 timeouts.

"These changes will help us fulfill our goal of improving game flow and pace of play," said Byron Spruell, NBA president, league operations. "Fewer stoppages and less time without action, especially at the end of a game, will further enhance the viewing experience for our fans."

Off the court, the board of governors unanimously approved moving up the trade deadline before the All-Star Game. It will now fall on the Thursday 10 days before the All-Star Game. It was previously set for the Thursday following the game.

Just last season, Sacramento's trade of DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans overshadowed the All-Star Game.

The league ended similar future distractions, and it hopes the on-court changes will improve pace. Commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged in January that the league was looking into speeding up the game because of younger fans who "have increasingly short attention spans."

Part of that effort includes the elimination of 20-second timeouts.

All timeouts will now be 75-second breaks, replacing the 20- and "full" 90-second timeouts.

Each team will have seven 75-second timeouts per game. In overtime, each team will have two timeouts. Previously, each team had three timeouts in OT.

Here are a few more highlights of the in-game rules changes:

--All four quarters will have two mandatory timeouts, which will take place after the first stoppage under the seven- and three-minute marks.

--The under-nine-minute mandatory timeouts in the second and fourth periods will be eliminated.

--Each team can enter the fourth period with up to four team timeouts.

--Each team will be limited to two team timeouts after the later of (i) the three-minute mark of the fourth period or (ii) the resumption of play after the second mandatory timeout of the fourth period.

Beyond timeouts, referees will assess delay of game violations to free-throw shooters who venture beyond the 3-point line between attempts. Halftime will last 15 minutes for all games. Teams will receive a delay-of-game penalty if they are not ready to begin play once the halftime clock expires. It will start immediately following the second-quarter buzzer.

Contact sports reporter Matt Goul on Twitter (@mgoul) or email (mgoul@cleveland.com). Or log in and leave a message below in the comments section.

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