The NBA has continued to find ways to draw more interest from fans. The most recent attempt was the play-in tournament for the playoffs during the 2020-21 season. While that playoff format looks like it will stay, the NBA is still looking to change things up.
Now, the NBA is looking to have an in-season tournament. Each player for the winning team will receive $1 million. If the NBA passes this idea, the NBA Players Association would have to pass it also.
This is some what similar to how soccer leagues do it. In United States, the MLS and the next two levels of minor league soccer have a tournament mid-season. Usually the minor leagues beat each other up for the first few rounds and then the pros get in later rounds when there are almost no minor league teams left. The difference for the NBA is that this tournament would compromise of just one league, with no minor leagues to participate and allow NBA teams to rest.
One of the other issues facing the NBA is the length of the schedule. Players have been know for taking rest days already. Will this just add to that, making the regular season less interesting? Another issue is injury. The NBA has seen a lot of injuries, like ACL tears, destroy teams’ playoff chances.
While players who are making vet minimums could see the $1 million in prize money as motivation, superstars could see it as chump change and just sit this out. Players like LeBron James and Zach LaVine could just do an ad campaign to make up for the lost money. No one should care about “The Battle of the Benches”.
At the end of the day, if the NBA implements this only one thing will matter: who will hold the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the year? The regular season pales in comparison.