One is a shortened regular season (from 82 games to 78), and another is a playoff reseeding format. The third is a midseason tournament, and Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Monday that a reward in the form of an extra draft pick may be in line for the winner. Stein tweeted:
"All elements of the NBA's potential midseason tournament remain in the discussion phase, but one idea proposed to incentivize teams to embrace the new competition is furnishing the tournament winner with an extra draft pick, league sources say.
"Any such measure would have to be ratified by league vote, but the league's search is on for ways -- on top of bonus compensation for players and coaches who do well in the tournament -- to make teams eager to participate. A first-round pick would certainly help."
Per Golliver, a midseason tournament with all 30 NBA teams taking part would occur between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
He offered his brief take on the proposal.
"Meh. It's easy to envision many teams—especially veteran teams preparing for deep playoff runs—not taking the tournament seriously, which could turn the idea into a novelty," Golliver wrote. "At the same time, there's not much downside to rebranding a segment of regular-season games as cup games."
Golliver noted that the implementation would occur in 2021-22, although the plans are still in the discussion phase and may not even come to fruition.
The key, of course, is the compensation for players and teams. Will the bonus Stein referenced be enough for the NBPA to agree to a tournament, and will teams be enticed by an extra draft pick to go along with it as well?
Perhaps the bonuses will, but the draft pick brings along some questions.
First, one of the league's best teams could win the tournament every season. Yes, a lesser team could get hot and take the title, but the cream rises to the top in the NBA nearly every year. Of note, a No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 seed has won the NBA Finals in all but one season since 1984 when the league expanded to a 16-team postseason.
The pick would seemingly run counterintuitive to the whole point of the draft process and order, in that the worst teams get to select early to help rebuild their franchises. That wouldn't happen with the tournament, where a good team will get an extra advantage come draft time.
Granted, this team isn't getting a lottery pick, but an extra selection deeper in the draft gives the champion an extra chance to improve.
Furthermore, the draft-pick compensation does nothing for some players. Some members of the championship-winning team won't be brought back, and it's possible one of them gets replaced with the prospect picked with the extra selection.
Regardless of the compensation, the idea of making a long regular season more interesting is a good thought. The 82-game campaign has its dog days of winter much like baseball's dog days of summer in that the regular season has a tendency to drag. Whether a midseason tournament with draft pick compensation is the answer remains to be seen.