NBA All-Star wants 1 major change to in-season tournament
The NBA launched its midseason tournament in order to raise the level of competition earlier in the 82-game season. Players are currently incentivized by a $500,000 prize for each member of the winning team’s roster and a potential trip to Las Vegas in December for the semifinal and championship rounds.
Haliburton wants to add to the prize pool with a reward other than money. The 1-time All-Star suggested to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer that the NBA should consider giving the in-season tournament winner a guaranteed playoff spot.
“I think the greatest incentive for everybody to do it would be an automatic playoff bid,” Haliburton told Fischer. “If it was a playoff spot, I think everyone would take it very, very serious, right? I think the older teams would take it seriously.”
Haliburton did admit that such a prize would come with its own complications. An automatic playoff berth would certainly galvanize more players into taking the NBA in-season tournament seriously. However, the winning team could theoretically coast for the rest of the season given that their spot in April is secured.
But judging by the early returns from the very first NBA in-season tournament day, the players appear to be plenty motivated. Several contests came down to the wire, including a Warriors-Thunder game that concluded on a Steph Curry game-winner.