According to a report by sports journalist and NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association have been in talks about the tournament, which could potentially be integrated into the 2022-23 or 2023-24 seasons.
The negotiations have focused on an in-season tournament that would start with pool play as part of the regular-season schedule before teams with the best records move on to an eight-team, single-elimination tournament that would conclude before Christmastime, per sources.
The proposal in question would reduce the season length from 82 to 78 games.
The parties involved have entertained the idea of a $1 million purse per player on the winning team.
However, sources say that players could receive more financial and competitive incentives in the final agreement.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has looked to the successes of in-season tournaments in European soccer for inspiration. Silver believes players and fans would warm up to the tournament idea over time.
The idea has gained traction over the last few years, and the adoption of the current play-in tournament has been a stepping stone towards the league implementing an in-season tournament.
The union has been speaking to players about the ideas at team meetings, and those discussions are expected to intensify during the NBPA’s February winter meetings on All-Star weekend in Cleveland, per sources.
On previous occasions, big-market owners have been apprehensive about the idea. This is especially notable among those who generate more significant revenue streams from home games.
Various teams have voiced their doubts about assuming short-term losses by getting rid of two home dates to roll out the tournament. These games can be worth $2.7 million to $4 million for some big-market teams.
Silver’s enthusiasm towards the tournament idea and his ability to incorporate new changes into the NBA like the current play-in system makes this hypothetical plan increasingly realistic as the weeks pass.
According to various NBA sources, there’s heightened confidence that the tournament could be fully negotiated in the next few months.