Adam Silver‘s longtime passion project is coming to the NBA next season. On Saturday night, the league finally unveiled the details for the In-Season Tournament, which will officially begin next season.
While the general format for the In-Season Tournament has been out there for some time — group play before a certain number of teams move on to a single-elimination knockout stage — we finally learned the specifics. The knockouts will consist of eight teams, with the quarterfinals taking place in home gyms. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN already reported that the semifinals and finals will take place in Las Vegas. The quarters will occur on Dec. 4-5, the semis will happen on Dec. 7, and the championship game will occur on Dec. 9, with the winning team lifting a new trophy, the NBA Cup.
The bigger 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 has been referenced, it was unclear exactly how the league would get that all sorted out. As the league announced on Saturday, all 30 teams will participate and get drawn into six groups of five teams that are split up by conference. The teams with the three-best records in the previous season will be put into the first pot, with each subsequent grouping of three teams put into another pot.
Once the groups are all sorted out, the teams will play one another on Tuesdays and Fridays from Nov. 3-28 as part of group play. These will be called “Tournament Nights,” and each team will play four group games in all, with two coming at home and another two on the road. ESPN unveiled the groups on Saturday night, and you can see them right here.
According to the NBA, all of the specifics of group play, which includes which games are going to be broadcast on national television, will come in August.