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On Wednesday 28th June 2023, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association officially signed the new collective bargaining agreement initially agreed back in April. With both sides putting pen to paper on the agreement it will come into effect straight away from the beginning of July. Among the many other changes the one that excites fans and players most is the introduction directly from the next 2023-24 season of the new In-Season Tournament. Now it is official and we know a bit more details about this new mini-competition we decided to tell you more about it and why there are reasons to get excited about NBA even early in the season.
In-Season Tournament Format and Rules Explained
The new NBA In-Season Tournament will take place it seems during the first 2 months of the 2023-24 NBA Season with the culmination and the knockout stage of it happening in the build-up to Christmas at some point in December.
All NBA teams are fresh off the 2023 NBA Draft and are still constructing their rosters for next season but it seems the excitement will begin early with this new In-Season Tournament that will take place.
The teams were split into 6 polls of 5 teams each. During the first 6 weeks of the new season, each team will play once against the other 4 teams in their pool, 2 home games and 2 away games. It has been confirmed that the first-ever In-Season Tournament will start officially on November 03rd. Throughout November the 30 teams will conclude their group stage matches.
Then a knockout stage will follow, during the first 2 weeks of December. In it the 6 winners of the 6 pools + 2 wildcard teams, we’re yet to know under what criteria the 2 wildcards will be given but it seems it will be the 2 teams with the best record that haven’t won their pools will get them, will face each other for a mini-knockout competition. The first knockout round is in early December and in it the teams with better record will be given a home-court advantage.
The semifinals and the final of the In-Season Tournament will be held in Las Vegas with the date for the final set in stone now as December 09th. All of the games, apart from the final itself will count towards the teams’ 82 regular season matches win-loss columns. The players from the winning team of the first-ever In-Season Tournament in 2023 will receive $500,000 each and this should be a pretty good incentive for all of them.
Which Teams Will Take Part In The New In-Season Tournament?
As the freshly signed agreement between the NBA and the Players Association confirms all 30 NBA teams will take part in the coming In-Season Tournament.
Our understanding is that the 5 teams in each of the 6 pools will be always from the same conference, likely from the same division too when possible, so at least during the group stage of the tournament the teams won’t be expected to make any extra long journeys.
Potential issues regarding the In-Season Tournament
The idea of an in-season tournament is a relatively new one for American sports and the main issue that the NBA will likely have is how to make teams take the tournament seriously. Providing $500,000 per player for the winning team is a good start but still, there will be 30 teams taking part not just 2-3.
We don’t think there will be any issues regarding motivation in the first edition of this new tournament. All teams will be eager to create history by being crowned the first-ever winners of this competition. The NBA sponsors are also already preparing extra bonuses for each of the 30 franchises if they reach the knockout stage, so that should boost the motivation. Still, what happens to those teams that lose their first 2 games? How much money will be given to the players from those teams that fail to make the final?
In any case, the idea is exciting and something to look forward to as the new 2023-24 NBA Season fast approaches. Could we get a surprised winner of the first-ever In-Season Tournament? We’ll find out in December 2023.
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