As if the NBA Championship was not enough, Adam Silver and the league office introduced a new In-Season Tournament for the NBA starting in the 2023-24 season. The tournament takes place in November and December and all 30 teams will be involved.
Teams are split into six different groups with five teams in each group. Every team will play four games in the group stage, all of which also count as regular-season games. After group play, eight teams will advance to the knockout stage, where another two games will count toward the regular-season record. The finals will not count toward the regular-season record.
If a team does not make it to the knockout stage they will still be scheduled the appropriate number of games against other teams that did not make it that way each team can still get to 82 games played. From a playing standpoint, the teams that make the finals actually have a disadvantage long-term as they have to play 83 games during the regular-season period.
So what is the point of this? What do the players have to play for? The best answer is money. While the league will try and spin the pride that comes with winning the preseason tournament, the real reason for players to try hard in this tournament is the payday they could receive if they win.
How much money do the winners of the NBA in-season tournament get?
In addition to receiving the NBA Cup, each player on the winning team will receive $500,000. For players on rookie deals that is a big chunk of change, for players like LeBron James it may not be worth the extra hassle.
The winners of the in-season tournament are not the only ones who receive prize money, though. Here is how the rest of the payouts are broken down for teams that make it past the group stage:
- Quarterfinal losers: $50,000 per player
- Semifinal losers: $100,000 per player
- Championship runner-up: $200,000 per player
Obviously, that is a big chunk of change to be handing out but for some NBA players, it isn’t anything that is worth batting an eyes toward, especially considering how much they already make on a per-game basis.
How much money do max contract players make per game?
There are different tiers of max contracts depending on how much service time a player has and whether or not they re-signed with their own team or signed with another team in free agency. Players who re-signed with their original team will make $34,005,250 with <6 years of experience, $40,806,300 with 7-9 years of experience, and $47,607,350 with 10+ years of experience.
Here is how those figures breakdown on a per-game basis:
- <6 years: $414,698
- 7-9 years: $497,637
- 10+ years: $580,577
It statistically is not worth it for the top-tier max contract players to win the NBA Cup. They make more than the $500,000 prize pool on a per-game basis and would have to play an extra game on top of the 82 already-scheduled games.