Adam Silver’s longtime passion project is coming to the NBA next season. On Saturday evening, the league finally released details of the in-season tournament, which will officially begin next season.
While the general in-season tournament format has been around for some time – group play before a number of teams moved to a knockout stage – we finally learned the details. The round of 16 will consist of eight teams, with the quarter-finals taking place at home gyms. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has previously reported that the semi-finals and the final will take place in Las Vegas. The quarterfinals will take place on December 4 and 5, the semifinals will take place on December 7 and the championship game will take place on December 9, with the winning team lifting a new trophy, the NBA Cup.
The biggest question for many fans in the lead up to the announcement is how everything would work before that. While group play similar to European cup competitions was referenced, it was unclear exactly how the league would settle all of this. As the league announced on Saturday, all 30 teams will participate and will be split into six groups of five teams divided by conference. The teams with the three best records from the previous season will be placed in the first pot, with each subsequent group of three teams being placed in another pot.
Once the groups have been sorted, the teams will compete on Tuesdays and Fridays from November 3 to 28 in group play. These will be called “Tournament Nights” and each team will play four group games in all, including two at home and two more on the road. ESPN revealed the groups on Saturday night, and you can see them here.
According to the NBA, all of the specifics for group play, which includes games that will be broadcast on national television, will arrive in August.