NBA May Take Mid-Season Tourney Cue from Europe

Published on 18-Aug-2014 by J Square Humboldt
Basketball - NBA / NBA Daily Update

7 Oct 2010: Barcelona 92 LA Lakers 88

The European sports world has its priorities straight.

Winning a league championship means something.

Yes, the North Americans offer higher pay packages for the top spots, but their season titlist get smaller rings and most observers only consider first-place finishes as seeding advantages for the playoffs. In contrast, the Europeans give teams that prevail over a long campaign the glory it deserves. Take FC Barcelona, for example:

When is the last time you saw scenes like that after a league championship?

Playoffs are so ingrained in North American sports -- and so profitable -- that they're here to stay. One of their unfortunate by-products, though, is dog days, the mid-season malaise that often sucks energy out of teams and interest out of fans.

The solution? Well, the NBA thinks Europe has it.

Mid-season tournaments.

The possibilites are enticing. For example, the league's considerations include:

  • Making it a one-and-done that even fares well on the western side of the Atlantic.
  • Inviting a few illustrious teams from Europe and South America.
  • Making it a week or a couple of weeks in Las Vegas or the Bahamas.

Currently, both NBA and NHL teams have 82-game schedules. The NHL has proven its versatility in Olympic years, when it clears two weeks to accommodate the IIHF's showcase tournament. It would be a simple matter for the NBA to do the same.

One drawback is attrition. The concurrent competitions do take their toll. European soccer conferences, for example, consist of 40-or-so matches. Additional tournament commitments can double their itineraries. However, the model being considered by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver seems to have innate parameters that most likely would only add 4-10 games -- depending on the format -- to the menu.

It's an idea too good to not happen.

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