The NBA has already added a play-in tournament to its annual postseason schedule recently, and now an in-season tournament could also be on the horizon. The NBA and National Basketball Players Association have been in talks about adding such a tournament, and there’s renewed momentum for its creation, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The idea of an in-season has been tossed around league circles for several years, and the success — and acceptance — of the play-in tournament has amplified such discussions.
If it is ultimately agreed upon, the tournament could become part of the league’s calendar either next season (2022-23) or the following season (2023-24). If approved, the addition of an in-season tournament would also work to shorten the league’s regular season from 82 to 78 games. Here’s some details regarding the potential tournament, via ESPN:
Negotiations have centered on an in-season tournament that would begin with pool play as part of the regular-season schedule prior to teams with the best records advancing to an eight-team, single-elimination tournament that would culminate prior to Christmas, sources said. The proposal also would shorten the regular season from 82 to 78 games, sources said.
The sides have discussed a purse of $1 million per player for the winning team, and the players could see more financial and competitive incentives before an agreement on the format, sources said. The NBA has been motivated with the prospects of lucrative television and sponsorship revenue that it is hopeful would deliver long-term financial growth.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver is a big proponent of the in-season tournament, just as he was with the play-in tournament, as he is consistently looking for ways to improve the overall product of the NBA. It remains to be seen whether or not an in-season tournament is something that would be embraced by the league and its fans, but it’s certainly something that’s being discussed, and per Wojnarowski, those discussions are expected to heat up during the NBPA’s winter meetings at All-Star weekend in Cleveland in February.