NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament to kick off from 2023-24

2 December, 2022

The NBA has announced that the 2023-24 season will be beginning on October 24, 2023, and its going to be the inaugural edition of its first-ever in-season tournament. A memo was sent to all the teams on Wednesday confirming the same and if this tournament gets the required approval, it could change the way NBA has been organized all these years. 

According to this proposal, 80 regular-season games for each team would be announced in August, with two more games set to be scheduled depending on which eight teams make the tournament’s knockout stage. Those games would be added in-season to the schedule.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has advocated for it in the past several years to be added to the roster. Multiple discussions have gone on about it since at least 2016, and in 2019 the league even created a proposal in which teams would play eight divisional games in the league stage, followed by quarterfinals for the top eight clubs and then semifinals and finals at a neutral venue in December.

All the teams, in Wednesday’s memo, were told to plan for tournament quarterfinal games in early December 2023. However, the catch here for all of the involved parties is that the event has yet to be approved.

“It’s something that I remain excited about,” Silver said in September.

“I think it continues to be an opportunity within our season’s current footprint to create more meaningful games, games of consequence, during an otherwise long regular season. I think fans might really ultimately enjoy another competition during the season, some sort of cup competition. Certainly not rising to the level of the Larry O’Brien Trophy, yet something else significant to play for.”

Silver has often compared the notion of an in-season tournament to what is commonly seen in European football. In European football, all the countries come to play their own leagues but slots are allocated for Champions League football and multiple other domestic competitions. 

The memo sent to all the teams included clarity on several key dates for the next season. Training camps will begin on Tuesday, October 3 for most groups, except those participating in overseas preseason games; they can open camp on Saturday, September 30.

The season begins on October 24 and ends on April 14, 2024. The play-in tournament will be from April 16-19, 2024, and that means that season’s playoffs would begin on April 20.