After years and years of NBA commissioner Adam Silver expressing his desire to create it, the league will have its inaugural in-season tournament next season. Announced last weekend, the tournament will almost entirely coincide with regular season games with the final being the only extra game on the schedule.
A chance at a trophy and a notable financial incentive both will serve as motivation for teams to take the tournament seriously. Here’s everything you need to know about the tournament for the Lakers.
Who will the Lakers play?
The league will be split up into six groups of five teams each. The Lakers’ group consists of the Grizzlies, Suns, Jazz and Blazers.
Winners of each group will advance to the knockout rounds — as well as two wildcard teams, or the two teams with the best record that didn’t win their group.
When are the games?
Group play games will all take place in November. The first knockout round — the quarterfinals — will be played on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5.
The semifinals and finals will be played in Las Vegas — the only natural site games for the tournament — with only the finals being a non-regular season game.
The Lakers will be dealt a favorable hand when it comes to group play games with Ja Morant set to be suspended for their game against the Grizzlies.
What do teams win?
There are two big things at stake for the winners. First, every player on the team that wins the tournament receives $500,000. The team that finishes runner-up will see each player earn $200,000. Semi-finalists will receive $100,000 for each player, and quarterfinalists earn $50,000 per player.
The other obvious thing at stake is an actual title or trophy in the NBA Cup. Perhaps the Celtics can win a second title since the invention of Apple computers.
As you can tell, the league has done a good job of not adding extra games to the already cramped schedule and making it so teams are almost forced into taking the tournament seriously.
Will it lead to a successful launch of the tournament? It’ll certainly be an interesting storyline to follow this year.
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