Sources told ESPN that the NBA Board of Referees is expected on Tuesday to approve the tournament as a regular part of future league seasons.
The NBA was voting to include play on an annual basis for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons, but support is in place ahead of Tuesday’s summer league ownership meetings to turn the competition into a regular league. A component of the league table, sources told ESPN.
The sources said the Board of Governors is also expected to issue a rule that penalizes “infractions” in periods of quick breaks with free throws and possession of the ball.
Tournament Play has grown in popularity and convenience among organizations and fans in the past couple of years. One of the league’s initial hopes, with teams in seventh-10th place in both conferences vying to fill seventh and eighth places, was to reduce the deterioration between teams and maintain more franchises and more fan bases for longer in the regular season.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) believes that this rule, and flattening the lottery odds for teams with worse records, motivated fewer teams to actively run down the rankings in pursuit of better chances in the higher draft picks.
Another change to the league’s regular season calendar – the championship in season – is expected to be the subject of further discussion at Tuesday’s meeting, the sources said. Commissioner Adam Silver and the league have been discussing the season’s championship and its impact on schedule and revenue on an ongoing basis with the players’ union.
Collective bargaining must take place with the Federation over both the playing tournaments and the season.
Talks focused on an in-season tournament that will begin with pool play as part of the regular season schedule before the teams with the best records advance to an eight-team tournament, expected to culminate before Christmas, sources told ESPN. One of the proposals, sources said, is to shorten the regular season from 82 to 78 games.
The sources said the two sides had discussed allocating $1 million per player to the winning team, and the players are likely to see more financial and competitive incentives before reaching an agreement on the formula. The NBA was driven by the potential for lucrative television and sponsorship revenue that the league hoped would generate long-term financial growth.