Mark Cuban “open” to in-season tournament, supports expanded draft
When it was reported the NBA is close to a framework for an in-season tournament — which could start as soon as the 2023-24 season — a video began circulating on Twitter of Mavericks owner/governor Mark Cuban saying his team might rest players for those tournament games.
It didn’t take long for that to get shot down. Marc Stein reached out to Cuban, who called the video comments old.
Spoke to Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who said that quotes circulating about his NBA in-season tournament views are "old" and that he is "actually open to it" as a concept for the 2023-24 season, saying he believes "it has a chance to build interest" if adopted for the 2023-24 season.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 10, 2022
Cuban, though, told me he is a proponent of expanding the NBA draft from its current two rounds to four and proposing that the winner of an NBA in-season cup gets the top pick in both the third and fourth round of an expanded draft ... with the proviso that picks can't be traded. https://t.co/XPvGVoS7bH— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 10, 2022
While there are plenty of questions and doubts, the NBA in-season tournament that Commissioner Adam Silver championed will happen. Maybe not as soon as 2023, but it’s going to happen. Silver has built up capital with the success of the play-in tournament and the WNBA’s Commissioner’s Cup, and he’s spending it on getting this in place. How it plays with fans — during football season — remains to be seen, but it will happen.
Cuban, like other owners, may have some reluctance toward the tournament, but he’s going to go along and give it a shot. If it boosts ratings and fan interest, it sticks around. If not, it fades away. But the owners will not publicly take shots at the Commission’s project.
Expanding the draft gets discussed but it should be noted that already the picks in after about 45 (mid-way through the second round) are considered longshots at best, or a place to use a draft-and-stash, around front offices — studies have found 74% of second rounders don’t make it past three years in the league. There are certainly picks in the late second round that thrive — No.57 Manu Ginobili just got inducted into the Hall of Fame — but they are the exception, not the rule. So what is to be gained by drafting 60 more players, as opposed to the current system where they are free agents? The teams might like it because they gain a little more control, but would the players want it? The best non-drafted players usually have a summer league/training camp/two-way contract signed within hours of the end of the draft anyway.
An expanded draft is a long shot. But the in-season tournament is coming to an NBA arena near you within a few years.