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LeBron James: Proposed NBA playoffs play-in concept ‘whack,’ ‘corny’

LeBron James on Wednesday railed against the notion of having a play-in game for the NBA playoffs. And that may be understating exactly how the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar feels about such a concept.

“No, no, no,” James said, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “That’s whack. That’s whack. Why? You got to earn your spot to be in the postseason. No consolation for finishing last. That’s corny. That’s corny. That’s whack. To play for what? What are they playing for?”

A report last month suggested there was “some behind-the-scenes momentum for the idea of a play-in tournament determining the last two seeds in each conference.” The purported proposal involves a four-team mini-tournament featuring the seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th seed in each conference.

James, however, believes that kind of setup is not fair in that the eight teams with the best record in each conference deserve a spot in playoffs.

“(Make the playoffs by winning the tournament) even if my record is better than yours? Nah, that’s whack,” James said.

James has previously railed against any notion of altering the current playoff format. NBA commissioner Adam Silver floated the concept of re-seeding the playoffs from 1-16 irrespective of conference around the All-Star break.

“I would disagree with that,” James said at the time. “I think our league has been built the right way when it comes to the postseason.

“It’s cool to mess around with the All-Star Game, and we proved that you could do that, but let’s not get too crazy about the playoffs. You have the Eastern Conference. You have the Western Conference. You have Eastern Conference Champions, and you have guys from the Eastern Conference who win the big dance, and then, you have it from the West as well.”

The re-seeding proposal evidently still has some life in the league office, despite James’ protestations. Although Silver has since stated any such change is a long way off.

And a play-in tourney? The use of the terms “whack” and “corny” make it abundantly clear where James stands on such a concept.