NBA Rumors: Details On In-Season Tournament That Could Be Starting In 2023-24 Season
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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Encouraged by the success of the Play-In Tournament, the NBA has been working on a mid-season competition to further increase the number of high-stakes games.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been open about his hopes of clamping down on load management practices. To discourage the league’s stars from sitting out games, the Association has already made the Play-In Tournament a part of an NBA season.

An in-season tourney could provide the teams with another incentive to stay competitive throughout the season, particularly if it promises millions of dollars in prize money as reported last year. The Athletic’s Shams Charania is reporting the NBA has already crafted a framework for the competition that would introduce an eight-team single-elimination Final event in December:

The framework seems to be inspired by the NBA G League’s Showcase Cup, a 12-game run of qualifying games that determines the eight participants of the Showcase Cup Tournament, held as part of the Winter Showcase event in Las Vegas in mid-December.

How will in-season tournament impact regular-season schedule?

While the NBA reportedly is yet to come up with rewards for the eight Final-bound teams, the tournament’s rumored concept raises more questions in regards to the event’s impact on the regular-season schedule.

Since Vegas has been the NBA’s go-to neutral ground for both Winter Showcase and the Summer League, it’s highly likely the in-season tournament will also take place in Sin City.

But if most of the tourney’s games are supposed to be part of the regular 82-game season format, the NBA will have to come up with a way to incorporate Cup games results into the schedule with the regular season already underway.

The league could start releasing half-season schedules the way it did during the pandemic-impacted 2020-21 campaign. But still, the NBA could find itself in a situation where teams from the same division face each other in the new tournament’s Final, leaving them with an odd number of games left to complete a season series.

The league would then have to decide which team would play two road games against a divisional opponent — a situation with potentially profound ramifications for playoff seeding and which would be difficult to amend even by two-part schedule release.

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