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NBA nears OK of coach’s challenge

The Associated PressNBA coaches likely will be challenging one call per game next season.

The league told teams Friday that, pending expected approval by the board of governors on July 9, coaches may challenge a personal foul charged to their team, a called out-of-bounds violation, a goaltending violation or a basket-interference violation. No other call may be challenged.

“We anticipate this rule will be in effect in the NBA next season as a one-year pilot program,” NBA Basketball Operations President Byron Spruell told teams in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by the AP. ESPN first reported the memo’s contents.

The NBA already has a call-challenge program in place in the G League and tinkered with it during summer league last year. It will be used during all three summer leagues this season — the four-team league in Sacramento and Salt Lake City that open Monday, and the one in Las Vegas that opens July 5.

Unlike the NFL version of a challenge, there’s no flag to be used and teams will not retain them even if successful. A team will have to call timeout and the coach “must immediately signal for a challenge by twirling his/her index finger toward the referees,” the memo said.

Challenges must come immediately after the play, and challenges of out-of-bounds calls, goaltending or basket interference will not be permitted in the last 2 minutes of the fourth quarter or the last 2 minutes of overtime.

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