The NBA is serious about making its proposed in-season tournament an event worth winning.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the league is discussing a prize of $1 million per player for the winner of its proposed in-season tournament.
While star players making $30 million might not care about this as much, lesser players would have a major incentive to pursue a $1 million prize. It would also be a way of increasing the importance of the tournament and reducing the likelihood of load management playing a role in the games.
The big question is whether fans take to it. The NBA regular season isn’t a huge draw right now, which is why commissioner Adam Silver is proposing major changes. A potential $1 million purse per player is an indication of just how serious the league is about giving weight to some of these proposed changes.
Even if the owners do agree to this tournament, there is no guarantee that the cash prize would mean much to players. While rookies and lower-salaried veterans could certainly use an extra $1 million, superstars make so much money that it might not mean much to them. As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes, half of NBA players make $4 million or less, while only 50 make $20 million or more.