The NBA is keen to resume talks with their teams and the players’ association about adding a mid-season tournament to the league’s calendar, sources told ESPN.
Commissioner Adam Silver, a proponent of the idea, has gained optimism that the success of the warm-up tournament could give the teams the momentum to get the teams back on another tournament idea that had been discussed before the pandemic but never reached a Board of Governors vote, said sources.
The NBA has been pushing for more competitive items to be added to the league’s calendar in recent years, including the play-in tournament, the in-game coach challenges, and changes to the all-star game such as the player’s draft and the Achievement of goals.
The NBA would need an agreement with the National Basketball Players Association and a two-thirds majority of their 30 teams to include a tournament schedule for the season. The league could begin with the teams and the NBPA re-examining the idea as early as this year, sources said. It’s too late for the league to think about the idea for the 2021-22 season.
Original proposals for mid-season tournaments focused on a European model football event to be incorporated into the traditional NBA schedule. The league had discussed an eight-team single elimination tournament that would be funded with payouts of $ 1 million per player to the winning team. The NBA had discussed a pool game scenario that was embedded in the regular season schedule to determine which teams would advance to the individual elimination tournament.
On the questions the league is likely to have yet to address to the teams, could franchisees – especially in large markets – be assured that there will be no loss of revenue if the regular season is shortened to 78 games to accommodate the tournament? Some teams have been reluctant to suffer short-term losses when they may have lost two home dates, especially when those games were valued between $ 2.5 million and $ 4 million in pre-pandemic times.
Previous concerns among front office executives were that some star players with the league’s most lucrative contracts might prefer the multi-day planning break that would come with not qualifying for the eight-team single-elimination tournament. Buying in from star players is critical to achieving the league’s goals of influencing fan interest, TV audience ratings and revenue. Even so, the NBA’s optimism in reaching this support has remained bolstered, in part due to how many elite players have embraced the competitive nature of the play-in tournament and the changes to the all-star game.