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The NBA has informed teams the 2023-24 regular season will begin on Oct. 24, 2023 and conclude on April 14, 2024, per Shams Charania. In addition to that news, The Athletic also reports that if the proposed in-season tournament gets approved, the NBA schedule would be set at 80 games, with additional games involving the teams that advance in the tournament. The topic of an in-season tournament has been in discussion for years now, with the latest reports suggesting that it could be installed as soon as next season. While the format and execution of the in-season tournament is still a little fuzzy, the general outline would be as follows:

  • Teams would play "Cup games" through the month of November, all of which would count as regular-season games.
  • The top eight teams would then advance to a single-elimination final where only the final two teams would play an additional game beyond the 82-game schedule.
  • All eight teams who make it to the "knockout stage" would receive a prize, though it's still unclear what that would be.

Essentially, the NBA wants to follow similar in-season tournaments that you would see in European soccer, like the Champions League. The WNBA has also recently implemented an in-season tournament called the Commissioner's Cup, where 10 games over each team's season counts toward the Cup standings. The top teams in each conference at the end of the Cup games then compete for a share of $500,000, with an additional $165,000 going toward charities.

The NBA sees an in-season tournament as a way to make the regular season more entertaining for fans and players, and by adding incentives, which will likely be some sort of financial compensation for the winners, it could make players want to put more effort into those matchups.

In theory it sounds like an intriguing idea to make regular-season games matter more, especially early in the season, but we'll have to see if it gets approved and what the players think of the idea.