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Thursday, February 29, 2024

NBA Working ‘Now’ to Make Changes to In-Season Tournament

  • The league is looking to move quickly in its preparation for the event’s second iteration.
  • NBA’s Joe Dumars laments his former team’s extended losing streak.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Even after a successful debut, changes are coming quickly to the NBA’s In-Season Tournament. 

Following on league commissioner Adam Silver’s comments that elements of the event would be “tweaked” for future seasons, NBA executive vice president Joe Dumars said on Monday that a process is actively underway to review the tournament, solicit feedback, determine needed changes, and implement them. Dumars didn’t set a specific timetable on the initiative, but he said an urgency exists to make changes sooner rather than later.

“We really don’t want to drag it out too far,” Dumars said. “So this is happening now.”

Among the potential changes:

  • A shift of the semifinal games to home markets. The final, however, appears poised to return to Las Vegas. “I want to say Vegas, but I’m not sure. All of that is up for discussion. We just had a conversation Friday about this. So I think Vegas, but I don’t want to commit to that right now,” Dumars said.
  • A new process for constructing the much-discussed IST courts. Given Silver’s strong preference for the eye-catching designs, their return in some fashion is likely. But Dumars said that more lead time will be available to design, build, and install the courts, in turn helping mitigate the floor-quality issues that particularly impacted initial IST games.

Any changes made will require strong support from players. “Once you saw the atmosphere of what [the tournament] was like, you realize, ‘Yeah, this has hit with the players.’ As I said to Adam the other day, we can come up with all these ideas, but if the players don’t buy into it, they’re just ideas,” Dumars said.

Feelings for Detroit

While Dumars oversees all of basketball operations for the NBA, he acknowledged that the ongoing struggles of the Detroit Pistons have been “tough to watch” since he spent his entire Hall of Fame playing career with them. The Pistons have lost 24 consecutive games, just four short of the NBA’s longest streak ever, a slide that also has cut into team attendance.

“I would feel for any team that’s going through it, any of the other 29 teams,” Dumars said. “It’s the Pistons — I feel for the organization, for the fans there … And so it’s tough to watch the guys go through that. And I’m close with a lot of people there.”

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