James Harden on prospect of in-season tourney: ‘Are we in college?’
Count James Harden in the camp of people who have an unfavorable view of the NBA’s proposal for a 30-team in-season tournament.
A report over the weekend from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe detailed how the league and the National Basketball Players Association — along with the league’s broadcast partners — are “engaged in serious discussions” over potentially drastic changes to the league calendar.
Among the proposals are a shortening of the regular season to 78 games, a postseason play-in game, a postseason reseeding involving the final four conference finalists and the aforementioned in-season tournament.
While it’s uncertain how Harden feels about the other possible dramatic changes, it’s clear the Houston Rockets superstar is not about to buy in on an in-season tourney.
James Harden not exactly on-board with the NBA’s in-season tournament idea:— Michael Shapiro (@mshap2) November 26, 2019
“Are we in college?” pic.twitter.com/uPS6lnSc9L
“Are we in college?” Harden mused while speaking to reporters Tuesday at Toyota Center.
Harden’s teammate, P.J. Tucker, is similarly skeptical about the merits of such a tournament.
P.J. Tucker joins Harden on the in-season tourney idea:— Michael Shapiro (@mshap2) November 26, 2019
“I don’t want to play for anything else. …You play games to win an NBA championship, period.” pic.twitter.com/tl2ifBDIAv
“We’re fighting for an NBA championship, I don’t want to play for anything else,” Tucker said. “It’s like a consolation or something? I don’t know. You play games to win an NBA championship, period.”
The NBA’s conception of a potential in-season tournament is largely modeled on how professional leagues in Europe, in basketball and otherwise, have long held such competitions.
That said, deliberations over the sweeping changes are in the earliest stages, so there is no reason for Harden, nor any other player against such proposals, to fret too much about things at this point.