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Report: NBA Board of Governors Discussed 30-Team In-Season Tournament

Erin WalshJuly 13, 2022

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The NBA Board of Governors discussed Tuesday the possibility of all 30 teams competing in an in-season tournament beginning in 2023-24, according to Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.

Eight teams would advance to the single-elimination round, and a Final Four would be held at a neutral site, per Charania.

Charania previously reported in May that the NBA was discussing a potential in-season tournament given the success of the league's play-in tournament to determine the remaining seeds for the playoffs.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski revealed in December 2021 that the inclusion of an in-season tournament would shorten the regular-season schedule from 82 games to 78 games and noted the event would wrap up before Christmas.

Similar in-season tournaments are held during professional soccer seasons, though those events usually see teams from other leagues play against each other, such as the UEFA Champions League, where a team from the Premier League in England can play a team from Spain's La Liga, for example.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been "intrigued" by the success of those in-season soccer tournaments, according to Wojnarowski, and he believes NBA fans would grow to enjoy and appreciate a similar in-season tournament in basketball.

An in-season tournament would also likely have rewards for the players. The NBA and NBPA have discussed a purse of $1 million for each player on the winning team plus additional incentives, per Wojnarowski.

"The NBA has been motivated with the prospects of lucrative television and sponsorship revenue that it is hopeful would deliver long-term financial growth," Wojnarowski wrote.

The NBA first introduced the play-in tournament during the 2020 season, which was suspended for months because of the COVID-19 pandemic and later resumed in the Orlando bubble at Walt Disney World.

The league retained the play-in tournament for the 2021-22 campaign, with four teams from each conference taking part in a tournament to determine the final two seeds for the playoffs.

Last season, the Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans advanced to the Western Conference playoffs, while the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks moved on to the Eastern Conference playoffs.

With the play-in tournament here to stay, it's no surprise the NBA wants to conduct an in-season tournament. And, who knows, it could end up being quite entertaining, especially if it were to take place right before the holidays as Wojnarowski reported.

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