NBA mid-season, soccer-style tournament could start as early as 2023-24

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The NBA may look to institute an in-season tournament as early as during the 2023-24 season.

On Tuesday, the NBA Board of Governors met to discuss a plethora of topics, including the feasibility of implementing an in-season tournament, potentially as soon as 2023-24.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported on Tuesday night all 30 teams would be competing in this hypothetical mid-season basketball tournament. Eight teams would then enter a single-elimination portion, with a final four being held at a predetermined neutral site after that.

The league already has a hard time of getting its star players to play in 82 regular-season games.

However, the play-in tournament to determine the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds in both conferences has yielded more positive results than negative ones in the last two springs since it was implemented.

Let’s discuss the overall viability of an in-season, soccer-style tournament for the association.

NBA Board of Governors have discussed the idea of an in-season tournament

For this to work, there has to be a great deal of incentives placed on this tournament. Financially doing so would make sense for the franchises and their television partners. The single-elimination concept is part of why March Madness reigns supreme in the college landscape, as well as why playoff football is so compelling, college and pro. There is a chance this tournament might work…

What makes these in-season tournaments work out in soccer is they have somewhat of an even playing field. The more talented teams should win, but they are not carrying their record on the year with them into this mid-season tournament. The biggest of underdogs still have a puncher’s chance. If winning an in-season tournament guarantees a playoff spot, then that may do the trick.

Of course, this means the top players in the sport will have to play more games. If lopping off 10 or so games from the 82 to account for the in-season tournament makes sense, then that could work. What might make this in-season tournament really take off is baked-in financial incentives for the players taking part in it. Whatever leverage they can bring to the negotiating table will help.

An in-season tournament could be chock full of landmines, but it could also be highly entertaining.

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