The Brooklyn Nets play host to the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, with an opportunity to advance to the quarterfinals of the NBA's inaugural In-Season tournament. While many players remain unfamiliar with the tournament's format, Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie said there's one thing they all understand.
“I mean, I don’t know all the particular rules. I know we got to win by a certain amount, but shoot, who don’t like money? Hey listen, half a million dollars, that'll pay for my Rolls Royce,” Dinwiddie said with a smile.
Each player on the tournament-winning team will take home $500,000, while players on the second-place team will receive $200,000 each. Players on the losing semifinalist teams will receive $100,000 each, and players on the losing quarterfinal teams will receive $50,000 each.
With a 2-1 record, the Nets can clinch the Eastern Conference's Group C in two ways:
- Win vs. Toronto by 15 or more + Boston win vs. Chicago by less than 22 points
- Win vs. Toronto + Boston loss vs. Chicago
If Brooklyn wins by less than 15 and Boston wins, the Nets can still advance as the East wild card, although this is unlikely based on point differentials of other teams in that race.
Nets and other NBA players like the In-Season Tournament money
“It does add to our fuel. Makes us want to get that money, get that check and whatnot,” Lonnie Walker IV said ahead of Tuesday's tournament game. “But we're still building over here. We're trying to grow. We're trying to be the best team that we can be, so day in and day out, we're ready to go. When it's In-Season time, we still have to understand what we're trying to do and what we're trying to accomplish.
“It doesn't really change the way, but it picks up the tempo and the energy for sure.”
The In-Season Tournament quarterfinals will be played on Dec. 4 and 5 at the location of the higher-seeded team. The semifinals and championship game will be played on Dec. 7 and 9 in Las Vegas. The tournament's champion will be crowned with the NBA Cup. All games except the championship count towards regular-season records.
While many viewed the tournament as a desperation gimmick amid declining interest in the regular season, intrigue has grown with the knockout rounds approaching. The NBA found a clever way to differentiate tournament games for the common viewer using colorful courts.
I don't care the Pacers ball movement with this court is double the fun. pic.twitter.com/z7T2l3uQBt
— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) November 3, 2023
And players around the league are aware of the financial implications.
“It's technically money time, so we can't afford to give up any of these [games],” Warriors guard Payton told reporters after Golden State's win over San Antonio Friday. “We've got to have 'em. So tonight was pretty big. Everybody had their antennas up and was active and causing havoc. We knew our backs were against the wall. We gotta win out to try to compete for the money.”
“We just know when that court's different, it's money time.”
"We just know when that court's different it's money time." 🤑
GP2 and the Warriors know what's on the line during the In-Season Tournament pic.twitter.com/8A9XUJNVkM
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 25, 2023
Spencer Dinwiddie said the Nets have enjoyed the experiment so far, and as long as it benefits the league, he is fully on board.
“I think it’s fun. Everybody's playing hard. Everybody’s competing. It's a new wrinkle of fans that are excited,” he said. “The league is going to do what’s best for the league at all times. And I think that’s why we are one of the most innovative leagues you know in the world. Credit to Adam Silver and the brain trust.”
“If it’s good for the league, I’m all for it. At the end of the day, you want to leave the league in a better place than you found it. And so if this is something that the fans really buy into, then it's our duty to put our full effort into it.”