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NBA 'Making Progress' on Midseason Tournament, Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum Says

Erin WalshJanuary 20, 2023

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 23: Deputy commissioner Mark Tatum speaks during the 2022 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 23, 2022 in New York City. 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. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The NBA is "making progress" on adding a midseason tournament to the regular-season schedule in the future, deputy commissioner Mark Tatum told Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports last week.

"We are making progress," Tatum said. "All of those discussions are positive. There's a lot of stakeholders, logistics that would have to be taken care of, but I feel we are taking all the right steps, all the right feedback."

"The logistics Tatum is referring to—shortening the season from 82 games, getting it agreed to with the players' union—hasn't been determined. But it has been a frequent enough topic on the calls general managers are having with the league office," Goodwill wrote.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported in December 2021 that adding an in-season tournament would shorten the season from 82 games to 78 games. He added that the tournament would wrap up before Christmas.

The NBA would also include incentives to get players excited about playing in the tournament, such as a $1 million purse for each player on the winning team.

Tatum said:

"One of the reasons that we want to create the in-season tournament is for the fans, for the players, so creating more opportunities for players to compete in the middle of a season to win something. And in addition to the Larry O'Brien Trophy, our players, they want to compete, they want to win. I mean, they grew up competing, and they grew up playing, you know, for the love of the game and to be the best in the highest level."

The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania reported in May that the NBA was considering an in-season tournament because of the success of the play-in tournament, which determines the remaining seeds for the playoffs.

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

Charania added in July that the NBA Board of Governors was discussing the possibility of a 30-team in-season tournament beginning in 2023-24. Eight teams would advance to the single-elimination round, and a Final Four would be held at a neutral site.

At this point, it's unclear if an in-season tournament could possibly occur during the 2023-24 campaign, especially since nothing has been agreed upon yet.