Love it or don’t care about it, the NBA In-Season Tournament appears to be here to stay. Or at least, here for another season.
The Los Angeles Lakers (who else?) meet the Indiana Pacers for the first title in In-Season Tournament history in Las Vegas, but whoever wins that game won’t be the only champion for the league’s latest invention.
Per Marc Stein of The Stein Line, commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA fully intend to bring back the tournament for another run in 2024-25. Stein wrote he suspects Silver will make it official over the weekend.
“The In-Season Tournament, you see, is officially baked into the new labor agreement between the league and its players that was ratified in April,” Stein wrote. “So there was no separate vote conducted among NBA teams to approve the introduction of the IST this season and there will likewise be no vote required for the league to bring it back in 2024-25.
“And it’s clear that the experiment, despite the various criticisms regularly registered on this Substack, has generated more praise than protest in Year 1. So it’s definitely coming back next fall.”
Also, while I’ve campaigned for all games to be single-elimination, Stein indicated this year’s format isn’t likely to change. So there very well could again be a Group stage, followed by single-elimination beginning only in the quarterfinals.
As I’ve also said on the podcast and written elsewhere, I’m an NBA traditionalist. I don’t like change. But even I loved the tournament and its colorful courts. That said, as I said on the pod, I don’t know that it brought in any new fans. Instead, all the praise seems to be coming from people who would’ve been following, covering or coaching/playing in the NBA, anyway.
So, has it been a hit? I hardly think so. But it doesn’t hurt, either. And it sure creates extra dialogue for those who follow and care about the league. That’s never a bad thing.