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Adam Silver Looking at Possibility of Midseason or Play-In Tournament

Marc Stein of The New York Times details the commissioner’s thoughts about tweaking the regular season.

NBA: Commissioner-Press Conference Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is looking for ways to keep the league growing and exciting. As Silver told the New York Times’ Marc Stein, he’s exploring the potential of a midseason or play-in tournament to coincide with the NBA’s regular season. These would only add to the regular season, giving it more spectacle or weight, like European soccer leagues have implemented:

While acknowledging in a phone interview that a second “cup” for N.B.A. teams to chase every year remains “in the conceptual phase,” Silver said both he and various team executives pose the question regularly: Why does such a long basketball season offer only one true prize?

“It’s incumbent on me to constantly be looking at other organizations and seeing what it is we can do better and learn from them,” Silver said. “In the case of European soccer, I think there is something we can learn from them.”

Stein outlined the thinking behind adding a midseason or play-in tournament:

The obvious lure of a play-in tournament, as Silver noted, is that it would give more teams “incentive to compete in the second half of the season.” That would mesh well with Silver’s long-held crusade to discourage teams from late-season tanking to improve draft positioning.

The midseason tournament, by contrast, could help the league address its concerns with the All-Star Game. The N.B.A. continues to treasure its All-Star weekend every February as a tentpole event that brings the entire league together, but it can’t shake fears that the headliner game has outlived its usefulness.

You can read more from Stein’s newsletter here.

What do you think about either of these additions? Let us know in the comments.