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Adam Silver: NBA not enthusiastic about mid-season tournament

South Africa NBA In Africa Silver Basketball

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks during a media briefing for the Basketball without Borders Africa 2015 at the American International School in Johannesburg, South Africa, Thursday, July 30, 2015. The NBA with some 20 top players is in South Africa for an exhibition, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expects more important games to come, led by Chris Paul and two-time All Star Luol Deng, featuring a Team World versus Team Africa on upcoming Saturday. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)


NBA commissioner Adam Silver floated the idea of a mid-season tournament a year-and-a-half-ago. The league surveyed fans about it. Silver continued pushing.

But momentum has stalled.

Silver, via The Lowe Post podcast:

It hasn’t completely disappeared. What happened was that when we discussed it with our general managers and our competition committee, there wasn’t as much enthusiasm for it as I thought there might be.

I mean, in essence, that given how long the season is already, one, the question was: What would we therefore do to reduce the number of games? Or is it just a function of shortening the regular season? And maybe people think that’s a good idea, but I think most of our teams didn’t.

And then, the question became: How hard will teams really try in a mid-season tournament? Is it worth expending a lot of energy when you really care primarily care about competing to be in the playoffs and win championships?

It’s not dead by any means, and I think those are the kind of ideas that require a while to socialize. And it may be we’ve go to work through other permutations of what a mid-season tournament could look like.

But I have to say, at least for now, I thought there’d be more interest in pursuing it. There’s some people who are interested in it, but for the most part, everybody said, “You know what? We’re not ready for one yet.”

The scheduling questions would be difficult to solve, especially because neither owners nor players have shown any willingness to shorten the season from 82 games.

But it doesn’t sound as if anyone is motivated to tackle that challenge, anyway.

A single championship per season is so ingrained in American sports. I doubt a mid-season tournament would carry much prestige, to the point most teams would probably treat it as exhibition. At that point, it’s not worth the trouble.

Silver planted a seed, and it generated a lot of discussion. As someone who doesn’t follow European soccer, a mid-season tournament seemed pretty outlandish. But I’ve warmed up to the idea of a secondary tournament as a way to break up the monotony of a long regular season.

I’m not sold. But maybe someday