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NBA / Jul 16, 2014 / 12:30 pm

NBA Considering A Potential Mid-Season Tournament

Adam Silver

Adam Silver (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)

Commissioner Adam Silver met with the media yesterday in Las Vegas after a Board of Governors meeting. He touched on several topics, including a potential mid-season tournament, an awards show, the Clippers ownership situation and more.

By way of Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, Silver is open to many suggestions in an effort to improve the overall NBA product:

The mid-season tournament is especially interesting. It’s an idea that’s been floated around before, most notably by Grantland’s Bill Simmons in 2011. His version goes like this:

Start the season two weeks later (mid-November), chop the regular season to 70 games and create the midseason tournament (starting three days after the Super Bowl) AND the Entertaining As Hell Tournament, then move everything back so the playoffs go from late April through May and June (with the finals ending in the June 23-24 range), then the NBA draft gets moves to the Wednesday before July 4th weekend … and then, the free-agency process gets shifted back to July 15 (instead of July 1). So you’d use those first five regular-season weeks to set up a series of beats: Christmas Day, the midseason tournament (with the finals played one day before the All-Star Game, on All-Star Saturday), the trade deadline (late February), the 8-Seed Tournament (mid-April), the playoffs (start late-April), the Finals, the draft, free agency. Boom, now I’m engaged the whole time.

The idea, of course, is not without its downsides. Chief among them would be whether the tournament would have any meaning, like a battle among the top teams at mid-season to guarantee a potential playoff berth, or a top-four seeding. Without such incentives, the tournament would become a variation of the All-Star game, and it’s hard to see teams fielding their best players considering the injury risk.

The awards show seems like a more realistic idea with less challenges. The NBA, aside from having so much athletic talent, is a league full of intriguing personalities. A show like this, if done in the same vein as the ESPYs, would help showcase the league to the casual fan and fanatic alike.

Silver also addressed the ownership situation with the Los Angeles Clippers, which is still in flux. The below tweet from Yahoo’s Spears has since been deleted, so the accuracy of his claim should be in question:

While the Clippers wait for a resolution, according to their coach and team president Doc Rivers, the uncertainty at the top really hampered the team’s ability to recruit free agents the past few weeks.

And lastly, Silver addressed LeBron’s decision to return to Cleveland. He was a huge fan and admitted to getting sentimental. Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN relays the Commssioner’s thoughts on James’ second decision to return home:

“I’ve gotten to know LeBron pretty well over the years,” Silver said. “From that standpoint, I really am more like a fan. This seemed to be a great moment for the league. And again, I understand it’s Miami’s loss, but that’s always going to be an issue when you have such a transcendent player like LeBron.”

What do you think?

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  • Onaje

    The only way a mid-season tournament works for the NBA is if there there is a substantial prize…Here is my lofty pitch. What about a Wins boost? Like the winner of this tournament (inspired by March Madness for sure) would get say a 3 game bonus toward their regular season record. Maybe first prize is 4 games, second is 2 games and third is .5 games…that would be interesting incentive for the bubble teams to really come out swing for that one and done upset. It may also keep teams interested and less likely to coast and just take Ls as they would have to worry a bit more about seeding…maybe…

  • 2cents

    Agree with the writer and Onaje, that some sort of incentive needs to be more than a financial one. Here in Europe, each country has their own football (soccer) leagues, but the best teams are invited to play in the Champions League. These are player along side their regular season and makes for some interesting competitions. Maybe the NBA can explore having this tournament outside of the regular season, but the best teams in the NBA go up against best teams in the world? Would mean the NBA gets more exposure globally and would also push international teams to get better. What’s good for the NBA is good for the game of basketball the world over.

  • b.one.z

    If you want to make the regular season more exciting, just make it shorter. I doubt even the most hardcore fans follow an entire 82 game season.

    Shorten the season to 58 games so that each team plays all the others twice each, once at home and once on the road. This way, all schedules are equal, and the eastern teams don’t benefit from having more bad teams on their schedule.

    This will also be good for competitive balance, which is something the league has been working towards over the last few years.