DALLAS -- A plan to discourage tanking and add some excitement to the final weeks of the NBA season has been tabled, most likely until after a new collective bargaining agreement is ratified, CBSSports.com has learned.
The plan for a play-in tournament to determine the eighth playoff seed in each conference was the topic of "healthy debate" at the NBA competition committee's meeting Friday during All-Star weekend, one source present at the meeting said. The idea probably won't come up for discussion again until after a new CBA is ratified because it would involve adding games to the schedule, another person in the meeting said.
The tournament was proposed by Denver Nuggets general manager Mark Warkentien in response to an invitation from commissioner David Stern, who had solicited ideas from committee members about how to spice up the final weeks of the regular season. Under the plan, the top seven teams in each conference would be seeded for the playoffs as they are now. Teams finishing 8-15 in each conference would play a three-day, single-elimination tournament with the winner being awarded the eighth seed.
In addition to providing more drama, the tournament would theoretically reduce the temptation for teams that are out of playoff contention to rest players and lose games in an effort to secure a chance at a better draft position.
In other action taken Friday, the competition committee recommended two further expansions of instant replay. Under the recommendations, which must be approved by the Board of Governors, referees would be able to use instant replay in its current form during the entire five-minute overtime period. Under the current rules, replay was only applicable in the final two minutes of regulation and overtime. Also, officials would be able to use instant replay to determine whether a foul fits the definition of a clear-path foul. The foul itself would remain a judgment call that is not reviewable, but whether the requirements for a clear path were met would be subject to review.
If the Board of Governors approves the recommendations -- which typically is a formality -- the replay changes would not take effect until next season.