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Doc Rivers hesitant, trying to stay ‘open-minded’ about NBA's proposed mid-season tournament

Ryan Young

The NBA appears to be committed to tweaking its schedule and including a mid-season tournament in the coming years, as evident in a new report on Friday.

Though he said it was “interesting” and that he wasn’t against the idea of a shortened season and mid-season tournament, Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers appears to be totally fine with keeping the status quo.

“I like our league now, but I think they’re looking at the soccer model,” Rivers said, via USA Today. “They did it and it’s worked for them. I try to stay open-minded with all this stuff. I don’t have an opinion yet.”

The NBA is considering adding a league-wide tournament starting with the 2021-22 season at the earliest, starting with pool-play and then taking the top eight teams into a single-elimination tournament that would finish in mid-December. To entice competitiveness, the league is considering offering a $1 million per-player prize to the winning team.

In addition, it would reduce the regular season from 82 games to 78 or 79 games — though teams going deep into the tournament could see as many as 83 games.

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich — perhaps the most outspoken coach in the league who almost always seems willing to address any subject, be it basketball related or not — surprisingly didn’t have much to say about the NBA’s proposed changes.

“I don’t think about it,” Popovich said, via USA Today. “I really don’t. You have no control. Whatever they do, they do and I’ll live with it.”

While still in the early stages, both Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich shared their thoughts on the NBA’s proposed schedule changes.
While still in the early stages, both Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich shared their thoughts on the NBA’s proposed schedule changes. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Rivers in favor of postseason play-in game

While he may not be all for the mid-season tournament, Rivers is a fan of the proposed play-in game.

Along with the mid-season tournament changes, the NBA is considering adding a play-in game for the final playoff spot in both the Eastern and Western conferences — similar to Major League Baseball’s play-in game.

While support for the tournament isn’t great at this point, the play-in game is appears to be an addition many across the league would welcome.

“I actually do like that,” Rivers said, via USA Today. “Some teams have had injuries all year. Some teams are getting hot at the end of the year. I don’t think the No. 1 seed wants to see the better of the two teams in.

“The biggest lie in NBA history is when you’re the ninth seed and don’t make it, and every coach, literally every coach, will say, ‘Man, we really didn’t want to see you.’ That’s a lie. They actually did want to see you. But they make you feel better.”

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