UPDATED 12/20, 7:19 p.m. ET: The NBA has reportedly sent teams a proposal for changes for the 2021-22 season. They include many of the previously seen ideas, including a shortened regular season, playoff reseeding, and the $1 million per player prize for in-season tournaments.
As with soccer, the tourney's conceptual counterpart, the in-season contest will reportedly compose of a group stage followed by knockout rounds.
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
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Earlier this year, it was reported that the NBA had considered changing the calendar year for the 2021-22 season. While there hasn't been much more in the way of details about the proposed changes, one of the biggest suggestions has reportedly been given a huge incentive. The in-season cup-style 30-team tournament could come with it a $1 million prize per player for the winning team, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
The league has started discussing the incentive in hopes of motivating players to treat the tournament the same way they might with the regular season. While details remain sparse about the potential tournament, sources said that team executives have some concerns. Teams would have to give up two home dates in order to accommodate the new in-season tournament, and the number of regular season games overall will lower to 78.
If those two home dates are lost, that's a lot of potential income lost, as it could be somewhere between $3 million to $4 million for the highest-earning teams. The season calendar changes will only happen if two-thirds of the teams and the NBPA agree to them, and Adam Silver is hoping to implement said changes in time for the 75th anniversary season.