Fans waiting on the NBA to implement a new playoff format, akin to the NCAA tournament that features a play-in tournament, will have to wait for the approval of LeBron James, who isn’t sold on the idea.
According to reports from ESPN, the idea of a play-in tournament that features the seventh through tenth seeds from each conference competing in single-elimination games for the final playoff spots has made its way around the league.
When reporters approached James with the possibility of introducing the new format, the three-time NBA champion was quick to dismiss the notion, calling it “wack.”
Following from Dave McMenamin of ESPN
“No, no, no,” James said Wednesday. “That’s wack. That’s wack. Why? You got to earn your spot to be in the postseason. No consolation for finishing last. That’s corny. That’s corny. That’s wack. To play for what? What are they playing for?”
Zach Lowe of ESPN reported in February that the league has indeed discussed several iterations of the tournament, but nothing is concrete to this point. The following from ESPN,
The implementation of a play-in tournament is not imminent. It falls behind the one-and-done rule and perhaps reseeding the playoffs 1-16 regardless of conference in the current reform pecking order. (It could go hand-in-hand with that change, only with one play-in tournament instead of separate brackets for each conference.)
At the All-Star break commissioner, Adam Silver discussed the possibility of playoff re-seeding and the conversation around the change.
“That is something that’s gotten serious attention, not just recently, but over the last few years at the league office,” Silver said. “I think, as I’ve said in the past, the obstacle is travel, and it’s not tradition in my mind, at least. It’s that as we’ve added an extra week to the regular season, as we’ve tried to reduce the number of back-to-backs, that we are concerned about teams crisscrossing the country in the first round, for example. We are just concerned about the overall travel that we would have in the top 16 teams.