James Harden puzzled by possibility of in-season tournament: ‘Are we in college?’
Earlier this week, several reports came down the wire indicating that the NBA was considering several changes, including an in-season tournament. Some have been in favor of this proposal, but Houston Rockets All-Star James Harden seems to be opposed to the idea.
“Are we in college?,” Harden replied, via Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, when asked about the NBA’s idea of an in-season tournament.
According to ESPN, the NBA is engaged in serious discussions with the National Basketball Players Association and broadcast partners on dramatic changes to the league’s calendar. These changes would include a reseeding of the four conference finalists, a 30-team in-season tournament and a postseason play-in. In most scenarios, an NBA season would be cut from 82 to 78 games.
Whether or not this idea will come to fruition or not remains to be seen. The NBA and the board of governors are hoping to bring a vote to their meeting in April.
A look at how the in-season tournament might look, via ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
In proposals that include the adoption of in-season tournaments and a postseason play-in, the traditional regular-season schedule would be reduced from 82 games — with most teams scheduled to play 78 or 79 games. There’s a small possibility of a team playing a maximum of 83 games based on possible tournament and play-in scenarios, league sources said. For the in-season tournament, the NBA is focused on 30-team participation that begins with a divisional group stage of scheduled regular-season games.
Those pre-knockout-round games would be part of the regular-season schedule. Six divisional winners — based on home and road records in the group stage — and the two teams with the next-best records would advance to a single-elimination knockout round, league sources said.
This format does have a bit of a college tournament feel, as Harden suggested in his reply. However, it could generate quite a bit of profit for teams around the NBA. As Wojnarowski notes in his report, the league is working to make sure the revenue for teams and players with a shortened regular season would break even or be better initially, with significant financial windfalls in the long term.
Harden and the Rockets will looks to snap a three-game losing streak on Wednesday night, when they’ll serve as hosts to the Miami Heat.
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