The NBA’s new in-season tournament is starting to take shape, and it’s looking a lot like the WNBA’s Commissioner’s Cup.
The NBA may implement the new in-season tournament as early as the 2023-24 season, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The format, which is still being determined, will include tournament games that run through November before the top eight teams advance to a single-elimination round in December. At that time, all other teams will continue on with the regular season.
All games will be part of the normal 82-game schedule, however the final two teams will end up playing 83 games.
Current framework of NBA In Season Tournament as soon as 2023-24, per sources:
- Cup games through November
- 8 teams advance to single-elimination Final in December; other 22 continue with regular season
- All games part of normal 82-game schedule; one extra for two Final teams
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 9, 2022
It’s unclear what prize or incentives will be offered to teams. There has been talk about a potential $1 million per player prize for the winning team.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in February at the All-Star Game that, after seeing the play-in tournament succeed the way it did, he was open to new ideas — including this in-season tournament.
“Related to that, to me, in terms of trying new things, then does it make sense to look at some other concepts we’ve talked about, like an in-season tournament,” Silver said, via The Athletic. “In some ways, the players have been more receptive to the possibility of an in-season tournament, because the Play-In has been a bit more successful.”
The Las Vegas Aces won the WNBA’s second-ever Commissioner’s Cup this season, which earned each player on their roster a $30,000 bonus. The 10 games leading up to the final were played normally as part of the regular season.