The NBA Is Finalizing An In-Season Tournament That Will Look A Lot Like The WNBA Commissioner’s Cup

For months, maybe years, there have been reports and rumors of the NBA entertaining the idea of an in-season tournament. On Friday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania, that could come to fruition as soon as 2023-24.

Charania followed up by clarifying details of this tournament are still be ironed out, including incentives for the eight teams that advance to the single-elimination stage.

The initial outline of this tournament closely resembles that of the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup. The Commissioner’s Cup is an in-season tournament with each team playing “10 designated regular-season cup games — first home game and first road game against conference opponents, with a prize pool of $500,000 in the championship game for the players and at least $165,000 in charitable donations throughout this year’s series.”

This past season, the Las Vegas Aces took home the crown, defeating the Chicago Sky, 93-83, in the title game.

I understand the appeal of a midseason tournament and I very much like the fact these games overwhelmingly won’t be in addition to the standard 82-game slate. The margins for winning are so slim at the highest level and while an NBA championship will always rein supreme, it’s cool there will presumably be multiple outlets to highlight the best teams in a given season.

I was long against this concept, but really like the fact it will be woven almost seamlessly into the regular-season schedule. Establishing more avenues to recognize the top teams — and often the top players — every year benefits everyone, particularly if it doesn’t add considerable wear and tear to the already arduous 82-game season.