If the NBA gets its way, the beginning of the regular season will look a lot different in 2021.
The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Friday, citing sources, that the league has informed all 30 teams of proposed changes for the 2021-22 season.
Sources: NBA has sent teams the proposal for 2021-22 season changes:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 21, 2019
- 78-game regular season
- In-season tournament ($1M per player, $1.5M coaches pool for champion)
- Play-in tourneys for 7-8 playoff seeds
- Final 4 reseed in playoffs based on regular season records
Sources: NBA's in-season tournament format proposal: All 30 teams involved from late Nov. to mid-Dec.:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 21, 2019
- Divisional games (4 home, 4 away) for group stage
- 6 divisional stage winners, plus 2 wildcards for knockout
- Quarterfinals at home market; semifinals/Finals at neutral site
The league's goal is to increase excitement in early-season games that ordinarily don't have much buzz. The in-season tournament would take place from late November through mid-December. Each team would play at least eight games and the two teams that make it to the final matchup would play a maximum of 11 games.
In an effort to get players to buy in to the radical changes to the schedule, the NBA will award cash bonuses to players and coaches on the winning teams, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday.
Story filed to ESPN: The NBA is discussing a $1 million per player purse for the winners of the proposed 30-team, in-season tournament. Reporting with more details on discussions for possible 2021-2022 league calendar change soon on site.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 20, 2019
According to The Associated Press, the NBA board of governors is expected to discuss and decide on the proposal in April. If approved, the changes would go into effect on a one-season trial basis with the option of keeping it in place if it succeeds.
For a team like the Warriors, who have tasted success at the highest level over the last five seasons, getting them to care about an in-season tournament might be a tough sell.
But for the Kings, who haven't made the playoffs since the 2005-06 season, winning the in-season tournament would give them something to build on.
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Over the last 10 years, the importance of winning the NBA Finals has been amplified, at the expense of regular-season wins. Star players are teaming up in an attempt to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy. Those same star players are tailoring their offseason so they can focus on winning the ultimate prize, as evidenced by so many players bowing out of the FIBA World Cup in China this offseason.
The NBA is pushing hard for this change, but this might be a hard sell for the players and fans.