- Marc Stein, ESPN Senior Writer
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NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn and vice president Kiki Vandeweghe acknowledged in a recent interview with ESPN.com that the league office, at least in an exploratory fashion, has weighed expanding the dimensions of the court and the introduction of a 4-point shot.
In a sitdown interview with ESPN's TrueHoop TV, conducted during All-Star Weekend in New Orleans earlier this month, Thorn and Vandeweghe spoke of both concepts mostly from a hypothetical standpoint, but did concede that the ideas have been presented for discussion at a league level.
On Tuesday, NBA spokesman Tim Frank downplayed the chances of either idea gaining traction.
"No one at the NBA, nor the competition committee, has had any serious conversations about increasing the size of the floor or adding a 4-point line," Frank said in a statement. "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."
The NBA has employed a 94-foot-by-50-foot court since the 1940s. But Vandeweghe -- who went to two All-Star Games as a player and most recently served as an executive and head coach with the Nets before joining the league office in 2013 -- confirmed that the growing size and ever-increasing athleticism of players today prompted discussion about expanding the playing surface.
"Making the court bigger -- it's an interesting idea and we've actually looked at it," Vandeweghe said. "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. But does it mean we shouldn't look at it? No, of course not. We're looking at all sorts of things."
Added Thorn: "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. So when you start extending the floor, sideways or length -- 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 3-point shot from the old ABA starting in the 1979-80 season. As for the prospect of a 4-point shot, Thorn said that, too, is "something that's come up" as an informal proposal.
The mere notion of the NBA someday adopting a 4-pointer is believed to be an offshoot of a famed quote from then-Boston Celtics star Antoine Walker, who reportedly answered a question about why he took so many 3-point shots by saying: "Because there are no 4s."