The NBA has been making plenty of changes for the betterment of the league. Changing rules and agreements, the league has continued to grow. One of the most recent additions to the league was the Play-in Tournament. First introduced for the NBA bubble, the original version of the play-in tournament gave the eighth and ninth seeds a chance to play each other in a single game to claim the 8th seed going into the playoffs. In the last two seasons, the seventh and eighth seeds would play for the seventh seed, while the loser of that game would have a chance the take the eighth seed in a single game against the winner of a single game between the ninth and tenth seeds.
The 2021 Western Conference Play-In Tournament gave fans exciting and close games between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs, and Grizzlies and Warriors. In the Eastern Conference, fans saw some blowouts between the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards, Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Hornets, and Pacers and Wizards. This past season, fans saw an exciting game where Brooklyn fought to win the seventh seed over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Atlanta Hawks blew out the Charlotte Hornets, and the Hawks surprising the Cavs to take the eighth seed. In the West, the Minnesota Timberwolves stunned the Los Angeles Clippers to secure the seventh seed and their second playoff appearance in the last 18 years. In the 9/10 matchup, the New Orleans Pelicans went out to eliminate the San Antonio Spurs before beating the Clippers to take the eighth seed. The Wolves and Pelicans would go on to take their respective opponents to six games each before losing in their first-round matchups. While the matches were more exciting compared to the 2021 tournament, the games also saw higher viewership numbers as well.
In recent weeks, the rumors of the NBA Board of Governors planning to vote to make the play-in tournament permanent have increased. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has voiced his approval of the play-in, saying there may be some minor tweaks to the format, but he thinks it will be a fixture for years to come. At the same time, Silver and the Board of Governors have discussed another potential tournament, this time during the season. The league has been looking for ways to get players to play more games instead of resting or sitting out. This would also see the season shortened by just a few games. Reports have noted that the current idea is an early season, single-game elimination tournament leading to a Final Four being played at a neutral site. The idea of rewards such as $1 million for each player on the winning team, among other things, has been discussed. With the goal of reducing players sitting out, the reward for winning could be enough to reduce that number. Adam Silver has noted how much he likes in-season tournaments he has seen in soccer leagues. The current plan for this in-season tournament is to start during the 2023-24 season at the earliest, with the Board of Governors expected to vote on it soon.
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