LAS VEGAS — The NBA Board of Governors is expected Tuesday to approve the play-in tournament as a regular part of future league seasons, sources told ESPN.
The NBA had voted year-on-year to include the play-in for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons, but support stands ahead of Tuesday’s summer league owners meetings to make the competition a regular part of the league schedule, sources told ESPN.
The Board of Governors is also expected to pass a rule penalizing “take fouls” at quick breaks with a free throw and possession for the offense, sources said.
The Play-In tournament has grown in popularity and convenience among organizations and fans over the past two years. One of the league’s initial hopes, with teams ranked seventh through tenth in both conferences battling for seventh and eighth spots in the playoffs, was to curb tanking among teams and keep more franchises and fan bases longer in the game include regular season.
The NBA believes this rule, and the flattening of lottery odds for teams with the worst records, has caused fewer teams to actively race to the bottom of the table for a better chance of getting higher draft picks.
Another change to the league’s regular season calendar — the in-season tournament — is expected to be the subject of further discussion at Tuesday’s meeting, sources said. Commissioner Adam Silver and the League have continuously discussed the tournament with the Players’ Association throughout the season and its impact on schedule and revenue.
Both the play-in and in-season tournaments must be negotiated collectively with the union.
Talks focused on an in-season tournament that would begin with pool games as part of the regular season schedule before teams with the best records progress to an eight-team single-elimination tournament that is expected to culminate before Christmas , sources told ESPN . A proposal would also shorten the regular season to 78 games from 82, sources said.
The sides had talked about a $1 million per player prize for the winning team, and players would likely see more financial and competitive incentives before an agreement on the format could be reached, sources said. The NBA was motivated by the possibility of lucrative television and sponsorship revenue that the league hopes would bring long-term financial growth.