NBA, players discuss adding in-season tournament

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA and the players union are in discussions about making an in-season tournament part of the annual league calendar — an addition that could shorten the league season by four games, according to ESPN.

If the league and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) come to an agreement, the tournament could be added to the league calendar as early as the 2022-23 season, per the report.

The proposal being discussed by the two sides involves all 30 teams, who would compete in the pool-play portion of the tournament as part of the regular season. The eight teams with the top records would play in a single-elimination tournament that would finish before the holidays, and the regular season would have 78 instead of 82 games under the plan, per ESPN.

Financial incentives would be included for the players that could include as much as $1 million per player on the winning team. But the report said the league must balance what it could gain in television and sponsorship revenues against what teams could lose by the reduction of games.

Commissioner Adam Silver is an enthusiastic supporter of the idea and has watched how fans of European soccer have embraced in-season tournaments.

The NBPA is expected to discuss the idea in depth at its winter meetings in February during the All-Star weekend in Cleveland.