League unveils groups, format for inaugural NBA Cup

The NBA on Saturday unveiled the format, groups and dates of its inaugural NBA Cup — the in-season tournament that makes its debut in the 2023-24 season.

All 30 teams compete in six groups but only eight advance to the knockout rounds that will culminate with a winner being crowned on Dec. 9 in Las Vegas.

Let the games begin on Nov. 3.

“We are excited to introduce the NBA In-Season Tournament as an opportunity to further enhance and innovate around our season structure,” NBA executive vice president Joe Dumars said in a release. “With the addition of this new marquee event on the NBA calendar, we are focused on providing players and teams with another competition to win, engaging fans in a different way and driving further interest in the early portion of the regular-season schedule.”

To establish which teams ended up in which group, the NBA placed teams in five different pots based on where they finished in the 2022-23 standings.

From there, one team from each pot was randomly selected into each of the three groups in that conference:

Pot 1: The teams with the three best prior-season records in a conference.

Pot 2: The teams with the fourth- through sixth-best prior-season records.

Pot 3: The teams with the seventh- through ninth-best prior-season records.

Pot 4: The teams with the 10th- through 12th-best prior-season records.

Pot 5: The teams with the 13th- through 15th-best prior-season records.

The groups came out as follows:

Group 1: Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons

Group 2: Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets

Group 3: Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic

Group 4: Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Blazers

Group 5: Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets

Group 6: Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs

The six teams that win their group plus two wild cards advance to the knockout rounds, which will be single elimination. Every team plays four games in group play — every other team in its group once.

The semifinals will be played Dec. 7 and the NBA Cup championship on Dec. 9.

The 67 games across both stages of tournament will count toward the regular-season standings except the championship. Each team will continue to play 82 regular-season games in the 2023-24 season.

Players on the winning team earn $500,000 each while the semis pay $200,000.

–Field Level Media

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