For years, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has expressed his desire to add an In-Season Tournament to the league’s calendar. He finally got his wish.
As part of the most recent collective bargaining negotiations, the NBA and its players agreed to introduce the first-ever In-Season Tournament during the 2023-24 campaign. The league took elements from European soccer tournaments in order to bring more excitement to the regular season.
So, how will this new competition work? Here’s a breakdown of what to expect from the 2023 In-Season Tournament.
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NBA In-Season Tournament format
The most recent collective bargaining agreement includes an explanation of the In-Season Tournament format:
- The NBA In-Season Tournament is split into two stages: the group stage and knockout stage.
- All 30 teams participate in the group stage, and each team plays a total of four group stage games.
- There will be six total groups in the group stage (three per conference). Each group will have five teams, and those teams will be placed into groups via random drawings.
- The six group stage winners will move on to the knockout stage. The two “wild card” teams (one per conference) that had the highest winning percentages but finished second in the group standings will also advance to the knockout stage.
- Each game of the knockout stage will be an elimination game, meaning the winners will advance to the next round and the losers will be eliminated from the In-Season Tournament.
- The semifinal games and championship game will be held at a neutral site. Each In-Season Tournament game other than the championship game will be considered a regular season game.
NBA In-Season Tournament schedule
- Start date: Nov. 3, 2023
- End date: Dec. 9, 2023
The NBA has not yet released the full schedule for the In-Season Tournament, but games will take place during the first two months of the regular season, per the collective bargaining agreement.
Group stage games will be played on Tuesdays and Fridays in November. The knockout stage will begin in early December, and the “Final Four” will take place on Dec. 7 and 9 in Las Vegas.
NBA In-Season Tournament groups
East Group A
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Atlanta Hawks
- Indiana Pacers
- Detroit Pistons
East Group B
- Milwaukee Bucks
- New York Knicks
- Miami Heat
- Washington Wizards
- Charlotte Hornets
East Group C
- Boston Celtics
- Brooklyn Nets
- Toronto Raptors
- Chicago Bulls
- Orlando Magic
West Group A
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Phoenix Suns
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Utah Jazz
- Portland Trail Blazers
West Group B
- Denver Nuggets
- Los Angeles Clippers
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Dallas Mavericks
- Houston Rockets
West Group C
- Sacramento Kings
- Golden State Warriors
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- San Antonio Spurs
NBA In-Season Tournament prize money
Players will earn prize money based on how far their teams advance in the In-Season Tournament, per the collective bargaining agreement.
- Win championship: $500,000 per player
- Reach final game: $200,000 per player
- Reach semifinal game: $100,000 per player
- Reach quarterfinal game: $50,000 per player
Players will also be eligible to win the In-Season Tournament MVP award and make the All-Tournament Team.
NBA In-Season Tournament trophy
The winner of the In-Season Tournament will receive the NBA Cup.
The all-new NBA in-season tournament trophy 🏆👀 pic.twitter.com/AuRlQuxWjH
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 8, 2023
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