NBA's Star Players Will Never Embrace an In-Season Tournament

Ryan Phillips
Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner
Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner / Brian Ach/Getty Images
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The NBA seems dead-set on creating an in-season tournament that would involve all 30 teams. Adrian Wojnarowski dropped some news on Friday that the prize could be $1 million per player. Sadly, no matter what the league proposes, star players aren't going to embrace playing more games.

Wojnarowski added some details in an article for ESPN:

"The NBA wants an in-season tournament that would begin with pool play as part of the regular-season schedule before the teams with the best records advance to an eight-team single-elimination tournament that would culminate in mid-December, league sources said."

I'm sorry, but top-level players would probably prefer the break that would come after bombing out in pool play to the promise of an additional $1 million. I mean, Kawhi Leonard is sitting out every third regular season game now, what evidence do we have that he'll be gung-ho for a tournament that would be for 1/34th of his yearly income?

The average NBA player makes $9 million a year. A $1 million prize per player with games added to the schedule is unlikely to motivate them. Yes, some would love it, but the players who drive ratings probably won't be thrilled about it.

There is absolutely no reason for star players to participate in this kind of scheme when making the playoffs and winning a title are clearly more valuable to them. And without stars a midseason tournament would be absolutely pointless.

Other proposals include the potential for re-seeding the playoffs during the semifinal round (currently the conference final round) and adding a play-in format for the seventh and eighth conference playoff seeds.

The proposal would reduce the number of regular season games from 82 to 78 or 79 for most teams. But there's also the possibility of teams playing a maximum of 83 games (before the postseason) due to the tournament and play-in scenarios. So basically it would be the same amount of games or potentially one more. Again, no star players are going for that, they're already claiming the regular season is too long.

The NBA would need two-thirds of teams and the NBA Players Association to agree to the calendar changes that would begin during the 2021-22 season. Adam Silver is hopeful the tournament will be added.

As it stands now, this scheme is destined to fail.

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