Jamal Murray on Possible NBA Midseason Tournament: 'No Need to Make Season Complex'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 23, 2021

DENVER, CO - MAY 22: Jamal Murray #27 of the Denver Nuggets yells during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers during Round 1, Game 1 of the 2021 NBA playoffs on May 22, 2021 at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday that the NBA is "eager to restart the conversation with its teams and the players' association about adding a midseason tournament to the league's calendar." 

Count Denver Nuggets star guard Jamal Murray among those against the idea:

Jamal Murray @BeMore27

Plz @nba stop with all these tournament talks. No need to make season complex

The league and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver would need to reach an agreement with the NBA Players Association and two-thirds of the league's teams to ratify such a proposal. 

So, what would that tournament look like? Woj broke down the ideas the NBA has kicked around:

"Original midseason tournament proposals centered around a European soccer model event that would tie into the NBA's traditional schedule. The league had discussed an eight-team single-elimination tournament that would be incentivized with $1 million per player payouts to the winning team, sources said. The NBA had discussed a scenario of pool play embedded into the regular-season schedule to determine those teams advancing into the single-elimination tournament."

Murray isn't the only one who doesn't love the idea of a midseason tournament, however:

Dan Wolken @DanWolken

Loved the play-in, can’t stand this idea. This is not Europe. Basketball isn’t soccer. It’s a money grab that will struggle to get buy in from fans and players. https://t.co/VvLeJEiX4u

"Hell no," Mario Hezonja told B/R's Sean Highkin in Jan. 2020 when asked if a midseason tournament would work in the NBA like it does in Europe. "This is the NBA. Come on. They're trying to be like Europe? No way."

While Tomas Satoransky said the idea was "interesting" and Ricky Rubio added that "changes are sometimes good," Evan Fournier was aligned with Hezonja.

"Every cup means something [in Europe]," he said. "If you win the Euroleague championship, that's the biggest thing. Then there's the French cup and the Copa del Rey. That means something to the fans in those countries. But the NBA is all about winning the championship. You want a ring. If they create a second tournament, nobody cares. Period."

The NBA's counterargument would likely be that plenty of people were opposed to adding the play-in tournament at the end of the season to determine the final two playoff spots, and that has been almost universally praised since being implemented this year. 

And the NBPA could potentially use the league's interest in such a tournament to try to leverage the owners to reduce the number of regular-season games. That would be a fascinating negotiation, especially since it would appear Silver is intent on implementing a midseason tournament.