The NBA reportedly has outlined a plan for the in-season tournament that could be implemented as soon as the 2023-24 season.
Per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, cup games will be played through November with the top eight teams advancing to the single-elimination final and all games will be counted toward the 82-game regular-season schedule.
Shams Charania @ShamsCharania
Current framework of NBA In Season Tournament as soon as 2023-24, per sources:<br><br>- Cup games through November<br>- 8 teams advance to single-elimination Final in December; other 22 continue with regular season<br>- All games part of normal 82-game schedule; one extra for two Final teams
Charania added talks between the NBA and National Basketball Players Association "are still working to finalize" the in-season tournament, as well as potential prizes and rewards for the teams that advance to the single-elimination portion.
Details about a potential in-season tournament come as the league's collective bargaining agreement could run out soon. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported in June the NBA and NBPA held a preliminary meeting about the CBA in Boston, with "serious talks" likely to happen in the coming months.
The current deal runs through the 2023-24 season, but both the NBA and NBPA have the right to opt out in December. Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne said on ESPN's NBA Today in March that neither the league nor players were concerned about a potential lockout or work stoppage (starts at :20 mark).
NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the board of governors have talked about the possibility of an in-season tournament for years.
Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press reported in December 2019 that the league sent a proposal to all 30 teams that would have cut the regular season to 78 games with an in-season tournament featuring every club that would have taken effect for the 2021-22 season on a trial basis.
"The plan laid out for teams calls for a play-in tournament to decide the seventh and eighth seeds in both conferences—the top 10 finishers in both the East and West would therefore have a chance at the playoffs—as well as a $1 million per player prize for the in-season tournament," Reynolds wrote.
While that plan didn't get implemented, the NBA did adopt a play-in tournament featuring teams ranked No. 7-11 in each conference to determine the final two seeds for the traditional postseason starting with the 2020-21 season.
The board of governors voted in July to implement the play-in tournament on a full-time basis after a two-year trial run.