Sources: NBA Could Give Draft Pick To Winner Of Midseason Tourney
One idea proposed by the NBA to "incentivize teams to embrace" the proposed midseason tournament is awarding the winner of the event an "extra draft pick," according to sources cited by the N.Y. Times' Marc Stein. All parts of the potential tournament "remain in the discussion phase." The league is looking for ways "on top of bonus compensation for players and coaches who do well in the tournament" to make teams "eager to participate." An extra first-round pick "would certainly help" in that regard (TWITTER.com, 12/2). YAHOO SPORTS' Ben Rohrbach writes the "question that looms over this idea: In the off chance that this extra rookie eventually takes a roster spot, would players be motivated in a midseason tournament if a win could ultimately cost them a job?" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 12/2).
TALKS COMING AT ALL-STAR BREAK: Nuggets C Mason Plumlee said that there has "been 'some talk' of the proposed changes" to the NBA schedule in the Nuggets locker room, but there will be a "much broader discussion over the All-Star break" amongst NBPA player reps. Plumlee, who serves as the Nuggets player rep, said, "I'm not on the executive board, so a lot of that conversation has happened without me, but that's something that we'll all vote on, the union will take a stance on it. I think it's very important for the direction of our league going forward." In Denver, Mike Singer noted one "fundamental argument for critics" of the idea for an in-season tournament "concerns 'load management.'" Singer: "How inclined would players be to participate in an in-season tournament with the playoffs still five months away? Would players rest if there was extra money on the line?" It is "widely known that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has viewed European soccer as a potential model for his league." In theory, the in-season tournaments "could generate more TV interest, more sponsorship opportunities, and, the league hopes, create new traditions." Plumlee said, "Any time that you put a lot of pressure on one game, the viewership goes up." He added, "Silver's made a lot of good decisions for this league. ... So, they aren't having those thoughts for no reason" (DENVER POST, 11/30).
WORTH THINKING ABOUT: In Salt Lake City, Andy Larsen wrote an in-season tournament and postseason play-in games are "both worthy experiments." The midseason tournament "could turn out to be a disaster: everyone could rest players, fans might be confused by the whole notion, and it could be bizarre." But it also has the "potential to be very fun, and inject a modicum of emotion into what is usually a dreary, underwatched portion of the NBA schedule." The postseason play-in tournament "gives more teams something to play for late in the season, always a good thing." Larsen: "Nothing ventured means nothing gained, and the NBA's new venture is a path worth going down" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 11/30).
BAD IDEA? In Boston, Christopher Gasper wrote, "What happens if you hold an irrelevant basketball tournament featuring the best players in the world? Apparently, the NBA yearns to find out." There are "some novel ideas being pushed by the league" and Silver. The play-in tournament "seems like a slam dunk, a way to make the regular season relevant longer for more teams and combat tanking." Abandoning geography to "get the two best teams in the NBA Finals is welcome." But the in-season tournament is an "airball of an idea." It is the "NBA version of New Coke, a popular product repackaged and reformulated in folly" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/1).