NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who has been a long-time proponent of an in-season tournament, believes the idea is moving closer to reality, writes Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. He said the tournament won’t be implemented right away, but last year’s shortened season showed that fans are willing to accept fewer than 82 games.
“I think we were moving closer to it,” Silver said. “But I feel we’ve had productive conversations with the Players Association, whose approval, of course, would be required to change the format. And my sense is there’s a fair amount of interest.”
Silver didn’t offer many details about the proposed tournament, but Goodwill states that the league is looking for ways to energize players during the long grind of a regular season. Silver has shown a willingness to break with tradition, Goodwill notes, such as adopting the Elam Ending for the All-Star Game.
Silver envisions a plan that is based on tournaments from European soccer and college basketball. He doesn’t want to create an event that will take away from the uniqueness of an NBA championship, but something that will be a separate goal that players can shoot for. There has been talk of offering a $1MM prize per player for the tournament champions, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
Silver wants to keep the NBA calendar relatively stable, starting in mid-October and ending with the Finals in mid- to late June. The tournament would be worked in somewhere, but not exactly at mid-season.
“There’s tournaments [in other sports] along the way where players, I’m sure feel an extra boost of competitiveness around winning a particular trophy,” Silver said. “And that’s what we’re looking at. It’s complicated.”