REPORT: NBA Players To Vote On Early-Season Tournament

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NBA Analysis Network

Following the success of the inaugural play-in tournament, the NBA and league commissioner Adam Silver are eyeing the addition of an early-season tournament. A key motivating factor of adding a midseason standalone event would be to spark further interest in an otherwise lesser performing segment of the regular season schedule.

Multiple league sources have told NBA Analysis Network that an early-season tournament will be voted on by players later this season. The tournament would be implemented starting in the 2022-23 season if approved.

The week-long tournament would take place in December and include eight-teams that would be decided by a points system determined by the outcomes of games played on Tuesdays and Fridays within the initial six weeks of the regular season.The semifinal and final of the early-season tournament would take place at a neutral location—Las Vegas is considered the most probable choice.

Data trends suggest the early portion of the NBA regular season produces its lowest viewership due to competition with NFL and College Football. The NBA slates on Tuesday (TNT) and Friday (ESPN, ABC) are nationally televised slots that would avoid such conflicts.

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A potential schedule structure could include the quarterfinal on a Tuesday, the semifinal on a Thursday, and the final on a Saturday—enabling the NBA to avoid scheduling the final in competition with the NFL Sunday slate.

The NBA would like to honor the legacy of the late Kobe Bryant and a potential way of doing so would be to name the championship trophy of the early-season tournament after him.

In order to incentivize player participation, the NBA is proposing a $1 million prize per player for the winning team.

Some players have offered pushback to the $1 million prize—seeking $2 million per player for the winning team as well as for the second place team to receive compensation for advancing to the final round..

If approved, the early-season tournament would result in an adjustment from the traditional 82-game regular season schedule. Teams that do not participant in the tournament would play a total of 78 games while the teams that do participate would play a maximum of 81 games depending on how far they advance in the tournament.

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The teams that do not participate in the early-season tournament would not have any games schedule during the tournament. Those days off would be used as the organizations deem fit.

A potential implementation of an early-season tournament would not impact player salaries despite a reduction in total games played.

About Grant Afseth 1120 Articles
Grant Afseth is a contributor to NBA Analysis Network who specializes in creating in-depth analysis. He also covers the Texas NBA teams for FanNation.