Mark Cuban is at least warming to the idea of the NBA holding an in-season tournament.
An old clip made the rounds showing the Dallas Mavericks governor saying he's "not a fan" of the tournament and his team may not participate in the event or may rest "our best players" because their sole focus is on trying to win an NBA championship.
Landon Buford @LandonBuford
Mark Cuban on NBA In Season Tournament:<br><br>"In terms of in season tournament, I'm not a fan. I can see the Mavs not participating at all or resting our best players. Until they give me one of those [The Larry O'Brien Trophy] the prize is the prize."<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MFFL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MFFL</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBATwitter?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBATwitter</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Dallasin?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Dallasin</a> <a href="https://t.co/lYYEc9OPzV">pic.twitter.com/lYYEc9OPzV</a>
After the clip took off, Cuban spoke with NBA reporter Marc Stein to say he is "actually open to" the concept of an in-season tournament because "it has a chance to build interest" in the sport.
Cuban also proposed the NBA could expand the draft to four rounds, with the team that wins an in-season tournament being rewarded with the top picks in each of the final two rounds.
Marc Stein @TheSteinLine
Cuban, though, told me he is a proponent of expanding the NBA draft from its current two rounds to four and proposing that the winner of an NBA in-season cup gets the top pick in both the third and fourth round of an expanded draft ... with the proviso that picks can't be traded. <a href="https://t.co/XPvGVoS7bH">https://t.co/XPvGVoS7bH</a>
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported details of the current framework being used for the in-season tournament that could be implemented as soon as the 2023-24 season:
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
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been talking about the possibility of an in-season tournament for years.
In a February interview with Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill, Silver said he thinks the tournament is "moving closer to" happening based on conversations with the National Basketball Players Association.
"And my sense is there's a fair amount of interest," he added.
Charania noted the NBA and NBPA are still working to finalize the tournament concept, including prizes for the eight teams that advance to the single-elimination round.
In September 2021, Charania reported the league was discussing a $1 million per player prize and the concept was discussed with the competition committee.
Other than a potential financial payout for players, there are no details about what teams might receive for winning an in-season tournament.
Talk of the in-season tournament concept comes as the NBA and NBPA are in the process of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA runs through the 2023-24 season, but both sides can opt out in December.
There doesn't appear to be any risk of a lockout even if either or both sides opt out of the collective bargaining agreement.
The NBA has done a good job of expanding the postseason in recent years with the play-in tournament. Even though those games aren't technically counted as playoff games, there is an increased sense of urgency in them because of the win-or-go-home nature of the matchups.
Trying to figure out a way to make an in-season tournament matter to teams seems like it could be the biggest hurdle to making it feel like a big deal and something that all 30 clubs will want to be part of.