By Josh Spielman
NEW YORK - With the third installation of the Play-In Tournament around the corner, the NBA and NBPA announced Wednesday a “Play-Out” tournament before the upcoming playoffs.
In an overwhelming vote from the NBPA, the decision was a victory for franchises who’ve had terrific regular seasons but would rather start their vacations early.
The Play-Out Tournament will be almost identical to the current iteration of the Play-In, with four voluntary teams from the top six seeds in each conference duking it out in win-or-go-home matchups.
The winners of each game will forgo the rest of the postseason, while the unlucky losers are forced to continue contending for an NBA title.
The reasons that led to a near-unanimous vote were varied and subjective to each market.
The Miami Heat’s constituents were unsure if playoff basketball was something anyone in the city truly desired, none less so than its own players.
“Sometimes, losing a bunch of games in March isn’t enough to get over the hump, and we are well aware that we’d be letting our fans down if they still had to watch us in April or May, or June,” a player who wished to remain anonymous said.
The Philadelphia 76ers, in a rare appeal to common sense and morality, admittedly did not think their fans deserved the joy and excitement of title contention.
The Sacramento Kings saw the new format as a chance to potentially make a future playoff appearance, knowing full well their roster and coaching staff were not cutting it.
“We see a bright future of filling in playoff spots other teams have abandoned,” an executive from the team declared with starry-eyed optimism.
Many players from the Los Angeles Lakers expressed serious concern that an aging LeBron James would find ways to sneak their abysmal squad into the playoffs.“He’s so wrapped up in chasing all-time records that he sometimes forgets the rest of us are scrubs,” an anonymous player, stirred with emotion, said following the news announced today at NBA headquarters. “They brought on Russ in the offseason to counter this but, we really aren’t safe until Bronny gets to the league.”