The Los Angeles Lakers have added some hardware to their storied history of accomplishments in the NBA. After defeating the Indiana Pacers in the final of the inaugural In-Season Tournament on Saturday, the Lakers won the first ever NBA Cup.
By most indications, the NBA’s attempt at a European soccer-style addition to the regular season was successful in piquing interest among players, coaches, owners, media partners, and fans. The tournament will return in 2024, and could evolve as the competition grows.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver was in Las Vegas as the tournament’s final four took place. Silver didn’t guarantee any changes for future editions of the IST, but admitted several aspects will be reviewed — like the point differential tiebreaker during group stage games.
Tiebreakers, Courts, and Money
“I’m not ready necessarily to move away from it,” Silver said. “But if ultimately there’s going to be a sense particularly from our American fans that it’s somehow an indication of poor sportsmanship, that’s not a good idea for us to be doing it. And maybe there’s some ways to tweak that.”
Another aspect of the tournament that might undergo a change involves the distinctive colored courts, which sparked some controversy among players. Silver said he’s a fan of the courts but knows safety needs to be a priority.
“I’m a big advocate of the colorful courts,” Silver said prior to the Lakers-Pacers championship game. “We want to make sure they’re not a distraction,” he said.
Additionally, Silver acknowledged players’ requests for prize money to be raised. The tourney’s winning players and coaches earned $500,000 each, while the runners-up got $200,000 apiece, and the semifinal losers took home $100,000 each.
“This is a business,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with money being a motivator in certain cases.”