How the NBA Cup will work: details on the new In-Season Tournament

The NBA has officially unveiled the mid-season tournament. The NBA Cup grew out of the study of national cups that ignite a weekend during the regular season period in Europe. But how will it work in the NBA?

All 30 teams will participate with an initial group phase and a knockout phase. There will be six rounds, created on a geographic basis.

Eastern Conference

Group A

Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons

Group B

Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets

Group C

Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic

Western Conference

Group A

Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Blazers

Group B

Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets

Group C

Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs

The five teams in each group will face each other in one-way games. However, there will be no additional contests compared to the regular season. NBA Cup challenges will be scheduled on Tuesdays and Fridays in November, with the exception of Election Day on the 7th. These matches will count toward both the cup and regular season standings.

At the end of this phase, the first-place finishers and the two best second-place finishers will face each other in the quarterfinals, a dry game at the home of the franchise with the best record on Dec. 4 on Dec. 5. Then the Final Four in Las Vegas with the semifinals on Dec. 7 and the finals on Dec. 9. The quarterfinal and semifinal contests will also count for both the NBA Cup and the regular season so the final will be the only additional contest. The solution of “ambivalent” games is designed not to burden with additional commitments a schedule that is already very demanding for the players.

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One interesting aspect is that each player will receive a personal prize money based on their performance in the NBA Cup. Probably a gimmick to raise the level of competition in these challenges. Here is the prize money.

  • Player NBA Cup winning team: $500,000
  • Player finalist team: $200,000
  • Semifinal losing player: $100,000
  • Player eliminated in the quarters: $50,000

There will also be a trophy for the tournament MVP and the ideal In-Season Tournament quintet will be chosen.

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