NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he spoke with the Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James about the league's play-in tournament.
"We talked about it," Silver told TMZ Sports in an interview released Saturday. "I think at the end of the day, I understand. Especially if you went deep last year and you have that end, you have that many sort of games on your legs. You're not looking forward to more games. But I think he understands the context of the league."
James expressed frustration about the play-in tournament in May as it became apparent the Lakers, whose title defense was derailed by injuries, were a candidate to play in the event as they slid down the Western Conference standings.
"Whoever came up with that s--t needs to be fired," James told reporters.
L.A. ultimately survived the play-in tournament with a win over the Golden State Warriors, but the team was eliminated in the first round of the postseason by the eventual conference champion Phoenix Suns.
The NBA Board of Governors voted Tuesday to keep the event for the 2021-22 season after it received approval from the Players Association.
Silver told TMZ he's "open to tinkering with it if necessary" but noted the league wanted to see how the format worked in a campaign where they hoped the COVID-19 pandemic would be less of a factor.
"At the end of the day, the Players Association speaks for the players, and they've approved this format for next season," he said. "So, I think we wanted to get one more season under our belt that wasn't a pandemic season so that we could really get a sense of how it works."
The play-in tournament features the Nos. 7 through 10 seeds. The first round features the No. 7 seed vs. the No. 8 seed and the No. 9 seed vs. the No. 10 seed. The winner of the first game automatically advances to the playoffs, while the loser of the 7/8 game takes on the winner of the 9/10 game for the final spot in each conference.
Next season's event is scheduled to take place April 12-15, 2022.