Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Different jerseys, neutral site finals, Silver lays out how NBA in-season tournament will be distinct

Jim Jackson says Domantas Sabonis shouldn't have grabbed Draymond Green and Green never should have reacted the way he did, and details why Green's "track record" led to his Game 3 suspension against the Kings.

We’re going to know the games are different. We’re going to know the games have a special weight and significance.

Whether fans will care about the NBA’s in-season tournament is another question entirely, but Adam Silver says we know it will be coming as part of the new CBA about to be approved by the owners and players. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who has championed this tournament, spoke about it Tuesday at the Sports Business Journal’s World Congress of Sports conference.

Silver compared it to the success of the Play-In Tournament and said the goal is “to create new games of consequences during the regular season.”

Silver made other comments on the tournament, via Mike Vorkunov and Richard Deitsch at The Athletic.

“The players will be wearing different uniforms,” Silver said. “Maybe the court will look different. You’ll know that it’s not just a regular-season game.”

“Taking a page from European soccer where they play for multiple cups throughout the season,” he said. “We think taking nothing away from the Larry O’Brien trophy, and the ultimate goal of winning a championship, that you can create another competition within the season that becomes meaningful. And there’s a recognition that new traditions are not built overnight.”

While all the details are not official, the group play stage of the tournament — however that is ultimately defined — will take place in November with the games counting as regular season games (even if the uniforms and court are different). Eight teams will advance to a knockout, single-elimination phase, with the final four teams playing their games at a neutral site (the smart bet here is Las Vegas).

Players on the tournament’s winning team will get $500,000 each, players on the runner-up will get $200,000, players on the two teams that lose in the semi-finals will earn $100,000, and players on the four teams that lose in the quarter-finals will be given an extra $50,000.

Silver and the tournament’s backers hope the extra meaning for the games will pique interest during what is traditionally a relatively quiet part of the NBA calendar (when the NBA is competing head-to-head with the NFL and college football domestically). While NBA fans understand the idea of the soccer-style in-season tournament, whether they will care about it — whether the players will care about it — remains to be seen.

But we’re going to find out in the next couple of years.