Play-in tournament expected to become regularly-scheduled event


The league’s Board of Governors is expected to approve the play-in tournament as a regular part of future league seasons, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. Final approval is expected during Tuesday’s ownership meetings at the Vegas Summer League.

The NBA had held the play-in tournament during the last two seasons and there’s enough support from the Board to turn the event into a regular component of the league’s schedule. An announcement regarding the tournament’s permanent status will be made after the meeting, Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press confirms (Twitter link).

The play-in tournament has involved the teams with the seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th best records in the respective conferences. The survivors serve as the No. 7 and 8 seeds. It’s designed to curb tanking and keep more franchises engaged longer into the regular season.

The NBA believes that the tournament, along with the flattening of lottery odds for teams with the worst records, has discouraged more teams from tanking  in order to improve their lottery position.

An in-season tournament will also be a topic of discussion at Tuesday’s meeting. Both the play-in and in-season tournaments need to be collectively bargained with the union.

The league sees the in-season tournament as another major source of revenue. A proposal has been made to shorten the regular season to 78 games in order to accommodate a tournament that would culminate before Christmas.

The Board of Governors are also expected to pass a rule that penalizes the “take foul” on fast breaks with a free throw and possession. The league has experimented with the new rule during Summer League games. The offensive team would get to choose who shoots the free throw, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets.

Modifications regarding the enforcement of proper bench decorum will also be mulled by the Board, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Stiffer penalties could be assessed to teams, with the issue of players standing up at the bench for extended portions of the game a particular point of contention. Fans with tickets near the benches have complained about obstructed views due to players standing in front of them for extended periods of time. The Mavericks were fined a total of $175K during the 2022 playoffs for violations of bench decorum.

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