Posted on: February 14, 2010 3:37 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2010 4:37 pm

Anti-tanking plan must wait for new CBA

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.
Posted on: February 8, 2010 5:24 pm

Anti-tanking proposal on All-Star agenda

Labor problems, the potential for blockbuster trades, and yes, some basketball will be on the agenda at All-Star weekend in Dallas. Something else will command the attention of NBA team executives on Friday: The idea of a play-in tournament to determine the eighth playoff seed in each conference.

The concept, devised by Nuggets general manager Mark Warkentien, is on the agenda for the league's competition committee, CBSSports.com has learned. The committee, which will meet Friday, has the option of voting on whether to recommend that the Board of Governors adopt the plan -- or some other version of it.

These are the basics: The top seven teams in each conference will be seeded accordingly. The eighth seed would be determined in a single-elimination play-in tournament involving the teams that finish 8-15. The benefits? First and foremost, money. By keeping playoff hope alive for lottery-bound teams, their owners could hold out hope of achieving a coveted home playoff date or two. In theory, it would also discourage tanking, though admittedly not in all cases.

The competition committee has the ability to recommend rules changes that could take effect any time. But a drastic change such as this most likely would be considered for next season, not this one.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com