Details are still being worked out regarding a proposed in-season tournament, but the NBA appears to be targeting the 2023/24 season to implement it.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported this week that the current framework has cup games being held throughout November with eight teams advancing to a single-elimination format that would be played in December. All the games would count toward the teams’ regular-season record, and the finalists would each have one extra game.
The tournament would have to be approved by the players union, and the two sides are continuing to sort through ideas. One important step will be deciding what incentives will be given to the final eight teams to make advancing worth the effort. Charania states that the Competition Committee discussed the tournament last September and considered prize money of $1MM per player for the winning team.
Commissioner Adam Silver has been a longtime proponent of the in-season tournament, believing it will eventually become as popular as a similar event in European soccer. Silver said in February that the players appear more receptive toward the idea after seeing the success of the play-in tournament that determines the final two playoff spots in each conference.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told NBA writer Marc Stein that he has changed his mind about the in-season tournament and is “actually open to it,” starting with next season (Twitter link). Cuban said the event “has a chance to build interest” for the league during the early part of its schedule.
Cuban also proposes expanding the draft from two to four rounds and giving the first pick in the two new rounds to the tournament winner (Twitter link). He would add the stipulation that those two picks cannot be traded. Like the tournament itself, any changes to the draft process would require NBPA approval.
We want to get your opinion. Do you believe an in-season tournament would cause more fans to pay attention to the NBA during the fall? And do you see merit in Cuban’s idea to expand the draft? Please leave your answers in the space below.