There is reportedly "strong concern" among ownership about the NBA's proposed reseeding of the final four playoff teams.
Marc Stein of the New York Times reported an update on the sweeping changes the NBA is looking into regarding the regular season and playoffs, most notably an in-season tournament. As previously reported, the NBA is considering a $1-million-per-player prize, along with a $1.5 million prize pool for coaches and an additional first-round pick for the winning team.
The proposed changes are designed to increase urgency during the regular season as the NBA deals with a crisis of fan frustration over "load management" and sinking ratings.
Reaction to the proposed midseason tournament has been tepid at best. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban unleashed a harsh critique of the proposals Tuesday, calling the the tournament idea "so dumb."
"So Dumb. What will teams that are in the tax going out do, tank the tournament because they don't want the pick? Or teams trying to build cap room? Be forced to trade it? Draft and stash?" Cuban tweeted.
"And to create incremental financial incentives to play games just sends so many wrong messages. Free agency recruitment will change. 'Hey, we can't compete for a ring, but we go all out for the TBT, so sign with us and u could make another $1m. Or the convo if the TBT winner doesn't make the playoffs. This is like the MLB trying to add drama to the All Star game by using it to assign home field advantage. How did that work out ? I can't hate an in season winner take all tournament enough. Hopefully TBT has a patent."
While it's unclear what concerns ownership has about reseeding the playoffs, there are obvious issues. The NBA has an imbalanced schedule, meaning teams play more against their own conference. That presents problems when reseeding because some playoff teams are going to have easier schedules than others and are thus likelier to have a better records.
For most of this century, the Western Conference has been far superior to the Eastern Conference. Team owners in the West could understandably be wary of being penalized for playing in a better conference. Those in the East could look at the consolidation of power in the West and wonder if the reseeding would lead to several years without an Eastern Conference team in the NBA Finals.