Now that the NBA is rolling forward in installing a mid-season tournament that could begin as soon as the 2021-22 season, it is deciding what incentives it might give to players and teams to actually care.
A $1 million per player purse has been discussed. And now, as The New York Times’ Marc Stein reported Tuesday, an extra first round pick could be on the line:
The NBA continues to discuss draft compensation, potentially in the form of an extra first-round pick, as a reward for the winning team in the proposed in-season tournament for the 2021-22 season, sources tell @NYTSports— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) December 24, 2019
Stein also laid out a proposal for $15 million to be given to the winning team and $1.5 million to the coaching staff. It’s clear that the league is attempting to draw interest in the tournament — in which all 30 teams would participate — by putting forth some enticing incentives.
But the addition of an extra draft selection yields some question marks, namely, why would players on a current roster be excited for their team to have another chance to draft someone who might potentially be their replacement? Roster spots are scarce in the NBA, and there is a good chance that a first round selection will make an opening-day roster, meaning that somebody — be it another young player or a veteran hanging on to a spot at the end of the bench — could lose their job because of this tournament.
That does not sound like an entirely convincing prize to inspire effort. But it is just one idea that is floating out there.
Mark Cuban hates the idea
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban voiced opposition on Tuesday, wondering if teams who don’t have cap space might lose on purpose so they aren’t strapped with the extra pick.
So Dumb. What will teams that are in the tax going out do, tank the tournament because they don't want the pick ? Or teams trying to build cap room ? Be forced to trade it ? Draft and stash ? https://t.co/laxHWd9YMy— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) December 24, 2019
Cuban also believes the tournament will negatively impact free agency and compared it to the MLB giving World Series home-field advantage to the league that wins the All-Star Game (a rule that no longer in place).
“I can't hate an in season winner take all tournament enough,” Cuban tweeted.
‘Concern’ regarding re-seeding teams
Another proposal by the league is to re-seed the final four teams in the playoffs rather than having the two best teams within their respective conferences match up. But Stein reported that there is “strong concern” against that idea:
Further details are expected before the All-Star Game in February as the league seeks to firm up a full proposal that teams can vote on in April -- although there has been "strong concern" registered against the proposal to re-seed the final four teams in the playoffs— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) December 24, 2019
This seems like the most sensical proposal that is being put forth, because it would better ensure that the league’s two best teams face off in the NBA Finals regardless of conference. It also would require much less posturing and adapting than a mid-season tournament. But it looks like the NBA has an uphill battle to fight if it wants the change ready for 2021.
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