NBA commissioner Adam Silver has acknowledged that he would to keep play-in tournament long-term. This week, eight teams battles in the NBA's first play-in tournament and four teams secured playoff spots. "I haven't made any secret that I want it to be [around long term]," Silver told Keyshawn, J-Will and Zubin on ESPN Radio.
"I have two constituencies I need to convince of that. One is the 30 teams, and I think for the most part they've supported it. Again, I understand the sentiment if I were a team -- a 7-seed in particular -- the notion [that] after a long season, you could potentially play out of the playoffs.
I understand those feelings. I think at the same time, the teams recognize the amount of additional interest we've created over the last month of the season plus those play-in games make it worth it. "Of course, the other constituency is the players.
For example, one player, who is on the executive committee of the union, said to me yesterday that he really likes the play-in tournament but he felt it could potentially be a bit unfair. For example, if you were the seventh seed and you were a significant number of games ahead of the 8-seed, the notion that you could somehow lose two games and be out of the playoffs seems unfair."
Silver acknowledges NBA is open to making adjustments
"Over the past few years, pre-pandemic, there's been a lot of reference to our long regular season and the issues around player resting, and we tried to address that as well," Silver said.
"We moved to a 72-game season because of the pandemic and somewhat condensed so we had 10 fewer regular-season games, and I had hardly heard a mention about it. ... I think the way we dealt best with the resting, although we have some rules around it now, was the motivation for teams to care about being in the playoffs and their actual play-in position."
Over the last two weeks of the regular season, 24 teams out of 30 had a chance to at least earn a spot in play-in tournament. "I'm going to wait only because I know there's people on both sides of it," Silver said.
".. Beyond the individual ratings, and some games have been pretty good and some haven't been as close, but putting aside those games and adding those games to our schedule and the amount of interest in them is where I think the play-in tournament had an impact.
[It] was causing teams who frankly otherwise may have thrown in the towel some number of weeks back to fight for those last playoff spots." "That incentive is what made the biggest difference, not the reduction of the 10 games."