NBA's In-Season Tournament will 'no doubt' return next season, Commissioner Silver says
PARIS (AP) — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says the In-Season Tournament will “no doubt” be back next season with some unspecified tweaks.
So, most likely, will another regular-season trip to Paris — perhaps this time with multiple games for the teams selected.
The In-Season Tournament, like the play-in that's used to determine the Nos. 7 and 8 seeds for each conference in the playoffs, began with a one-year trial so the league could evaluate it before deciding whether to bring it back.
The tournament wrapped up last month with the Los Angeles Lakers beating the Indiana Pacers in Las Vegas for the championship. It was mostly well-received by teams and fans. Silver said team presidents recently met and discussed potential modifications, including how how to break ties, the appearance of the courts and perhaps the name of the event.
“We are pleased with the success after the first season and no doubt it will be back next year, probably with just a couple of tweaks,” Silver said. “Then beyond that, as we’re talking to television partners, maybe figuring out exactly when the best time of year is to do it, maybe it will make sense to make some other modifications to the format, those are things we’ll look at.”
Silver is also looking at returning to Paris, first for the Olympics and then next winter for more NBA games.
With No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama leading France’s biggest presence on NBA rosters, and with Paris set to host the Olympics, the French market has become more important to the league.
It staged its first regular-season game in the French capital in 2020 and seems headed back next season. Silver said he recently ran into former French star Tony Parker, and the ex-longtime San Antonio Spurs player told the commissioner he'd never been busier.
“He’s gone from event to event over the last several days and I said, ‘You’re going to be even busier in the Olympics and wait until we’re back next year,’” Silver said. “That hasn’t been confirmed yet, but we’re very likely to be back next year and and we’re very excited about that.”
Wembanyama, who had his first NBA triple-double on Wednesday in Detroit, leads a record 14 French players on NBA rosters this season.
The Nets and Cavs are playing just a single game after traveling to France following a game on Sunday. Silver said the next event could feature multiple games.
“In terms of the efficiency, given the scope of the operation bringing two teams over here, we’ve had conversations with teams that, once they’re here, would they potentially play a second game against each other before returning to the States?” Silver said. “And that’s something we’re looking at, potentially even for next season.”
Silver added that there was no update on the league's TV negotiations. He said there have been discussions and there will be an exclusive negotiating period with the current partners that hasn't yet begun, before the deals expire after next season.
“My sense is over the next month or so those conversations will become more intense as we focus on this exclusive negotiating period, and we’ll see whether we can get them done during that period or whether we end up having further discussions beyond that,” Silver said.
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