The league relaunches the project of a mid-season tournament, after having successfully tested it in Wnba
The most traditional fans put their hearts in peace: the NBA cup is coming, a mid-season tournament modeled on the Italian Cup and other European trophies. It will happen because, without Covid, it would be the big news of 2021-22, the league’s 75th anniversary season. It will be done to give the league and players further arguments to convince TV to raise the price of TV rights to 75 billion in 9 years from 2024 onwards.
The idea returned to the study phase after the discussions of 2019 and the first month of 2020 because the NBA at this moment needs normality, a regular season of 82 games to be played in full arenas, to return to economic security. pre Covid. But the cup has returned to talk, as revealed The Athletic, in the commission that deals with studying the NBA competition and its improvement. It would be a tournament embedded in the regular season, with the first two games (one at home and one away) against opponents of the same division that also count as the “group stage” of the cup. The idea discussed before the pandemic then involved a Final Eight to be played in a single city (Las Vegas had already taken an interest in it), with the regular season hitting for less than a week until a champion is crowned. It would be a real trophy, different from the Larry O’Brien Trophy that crowns the champion team every year. Before Covid the problem was to convince the players, whose yes is necessary for any changes: the idea is that for the players of the winning team there is 1 million dollars each. NBPA was ready to say yes before the pandemic stop: now it has a new president (CJ McCollum has replaced Chris Paul) and will soon have a new executive director (Michele Roberts is expected to leave within the year), but the yes of the players it should still come.
The Nba has made the rehearsal of the cup this season of Wnba. Similar formula: group stage within the regular season with matches that also count for the cup standings. No Final Eight though: the trophy was awarded in a single race, on August 12 in Phoenix, in the first game after the break for the Olympics won by the Seattle Storm on the Connecticut Sun. Economically it was a success: prize money of 500 thousand dollars (the figures of the Wnba are very different from that of the NBA), sponsors such as Google and Amazon exceptionally on board for the event. The bonuses for the players were $ 30,000 for the winning team, $ 10,000 for the losing finalist and $ 5,000 for the Commissioner’s Cup mvp Breanna Stewart. “This cup is a sign of all the good things that are going to happen in this league,” said Storm legend Sue Bird.
When will it happen
The NBA is looking for a way to convert that dress rehearsal into a reality of its own. As soon as possible. Not in 2021-22 anyway, because first a series of formal steps must be completed: the Competition Committee must put together a final project which must then be discussed by the owners’ assembly, approved and then submitted to the players union, which must say his is on the cup project itself and on the inevitable changes that the collective agreement would undergo. In short, it will take a few more seasons for the duo ball of the first NBA cup final to rise. But it is a project that is increasingly taking shape. And that could be a reality even before 2025, when the NBA will have its new TV contract.
September 14, 2021 (change September 14, 2021 | 19:05)
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