It’s the latest innovation by the NBA, a mid-season league cup like those we’ve seen primarily in European soccer play.
The new NBA Cup competition won’t just offer a new trophy for the league’s 30 teams to fight over. It will also be very lucrative for the players. When, the Cup is awarded in December, all players on the winning team will get $500,000 while the runner-up’s roster will get $200,000 each. Players on the semifinal losing teams will each get $100,000 and players on the quarterfinal losers taking home $50,000.
“This is a concept that has been rumbling around the league office for around 15 years,” Silver said on a special episode of ESPN’s NBA Today from “NBA Con” from Las Vegas Saturday. “We thought what a perfect opportunity for a global league like the NBA, and it’s a perfect fit for our game.
“New traditions take time. But, all throughout sports, we are seeing new innovations, and now is the time for this NBA in-season tournament.”
Like the European model — and the WNBA’s Commissioners Cup. certain dates on the league’s 82-game schedule will be designated “Tournament Nights” with each team playing within a five team group. The Nets, for example, will compete with four other Eastern Conference teams: the Celtics, Bulls, Magic and Raptors...
Groups are set.— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) July 9, 2023
NBA In-Season Tournament coming soon. pic.twitter.com/U3xLqcQ7M6
It’s going to take some time to getting used to. The NBA and ESPN even put out an instructional video featuring Richard Jefferson to explain things...
The new NBA IN SEASON TOURNAMENT RULES!!! Thoughts? pic.twitter.com/mCr3AR8MYo— Richard Jefferson (@Rjeff24) July 9, 2023
So. here you go...
Group play will begin on November 3 and last through November 28. Every Tuesday and Friday (other than Election Day on November 7), teams will play a game vs. each of the other teams in their group, with two of the games at home, two on the road.
Eight teams will then advance to the knockout round: the six teams with the best records in each of the groups plus two wild cards: winning teams from each conference that finished second in group play.
Quarterfinals will be single-elimination and take place on December 4 and 5 at team arenas. The final four will then move on to Las Vegas for the semifinals and championship games on December 7 and 9 at the Thomas & Mack Center. The championship game will not count in the standings. (This season, Las Vegas will be the home of the Summer League, Team USA training camp and now the NBA Cup, as the city continues its auditions for the next round of NBA expansion.)
While the league has put a high priority on making the Cup work and heighten interest in the NBA during its December doldrums midway between Opening Night and the All-Star Break, officials readily admit acceptance will take time.
“Everybody’s not going to buy in right away,” Joe Dumars, the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations told ESPN. “So that can’t be the goal that everybody’s going to buy in from day one. These things take time. And I think, as time goes on, I think you can build this up and people can really get into it.”
We will get all the details about when the Nets play which group rival come early August when the regular season schedule is released.