Adam Silver’s ambitious addition to the NBA schedule now has an official set of rules. And it looks just like the international soccer model.
The In-Season Tournament was introduced in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which was officially signed Wednesday and released to the masses.
The tournament, or ‘The IST’ as it’s nicknamed in the CBA, will feature all 30 teams and take place on two designated days per week during the first two months of the regular season. It begins with a group stage with eight teams advancing to the knockout rounds. The semifinal and final games are at neutral sites. Las Vegas is a leading candidate to host.
What’s the incentive?
Players on the championship squad receive $500,000 each. Runner-ups get $200,000 apiece. Semifinalists earn $100,000 and quarterfinalists get $50,000.
An important detail is that each game, with the exception of the final, also counts as one of the 82 regular-season contests. That addresses the issue of adding to a schedule that players already have problems managing. It also ensures that top stars will be motivated — or at least should be — even if they’re not moved by the prize money. After all, $500,000 is just a shade over 1% of a max salary these days. But the IST games also count toward a playoff position.
“When we first started talking to our players about it several years ago, part of the initial reaction from players is ‘Why would we care?’” Silver said at a business convention in April. “It’s interesting with getting close to a third of our players now who were born outside the United States, they’re very familiar with this Cup notion from European soccer or soccer tournaments elsewhere in the world.”
Silver has long pushed for the in-season tournament as a way to emulate the success of the FA Cup, the Copa Del Rey and other European soccer competitions. Other than in MLS and WNBA — which has teams that participate in the US Open Cup, the CONCACAF Tournament and the Commissioner’s Cup — it’s a foreign concept in the United States.
“Taking a page from European soccer where they play for multiple cups throughout the season,” Silver said in April. “We think taking nothing away from the Larry O’Brien trophy, and the ultimate goal of winning a championship, that you can create another competition within the season that becomes meaningful. And there’s a recognition that new traditions are not built overnight.”
Although Silver is hoping The IST grows into a honored tradition, the trend of the ring culture is going the opposite direction. All-Star games appearances, division titles and even conference championships are less celebrated.
Source: Berkshire mont