NBA Season: League Unveils Details Around New Mid-Season Tournament

Basketball news


  • The tournament will kick off on November 3
  • The trophy will be known as the NBA Cup
  • Teams will compete in a group stage before moving to a single-elimination tournament

After years of rumors, the NBA announced that the long-awaited in-season tournament will debut in the upcoming 2023-24 season. While the news has been met with excitement from fans around the league, there are still several lingering questions around how the tournament will work. This is why we have taken the time to carefully study the details to create a clear picture of what the tournament will look like. 

If you have questions around the NBA mid-season tournament, you have come to the right place.

Details on the Tournament’s Format

The tournament will be composed of a group stage that leads into the knockout round. The group stage will consist of three groups from each conference (6 total). The NBA will randomly select the groups based on seedings set from each team’s record from the previous season. Each squad will play the other teams in their group once, with the higher seed hosting each matchup. 

After the group stage is complete, all six group winners and two wild card teams will advance to the knockout stage. That stage will be single elimination, meaning there will not be series as there are in the NBA playoffs. The quarterfinal matchups will be hosted by the team with the higher seed, but the semi-finals and finals will be held in Las Vegas. The tournament will kick off in November and run until the championship game on December 9.

The 2024-23 Tournament Groups Have Been Set

The NBA also released the groupings for the inaugural tournament, which we have listed below.


Group A

  1. Philadelphia 76ers
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers
  3. Atlanta Hawks
  4. Indiana Pacers
  5. Detroit Pistons

Group A

  1. Memphis Grizzlies
  2. Phoenix Suns
  3. Los Angeles Lakers
  4. Utah Jazz
  5. Portland Trail Blazers

Group B

  1. Milwaukee Bucks
  2. New York Knicks
  3. Miami Heat
  4. Washington Wizards
  5. Charlotte Hornets

Group B

  1. Denver Nuggets
  2. Los Angeles Clippers
  3. New Orleans Pelicans
  4. Dallas Mavericks
  5. Houston Rockets

Group C

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. Toronto Raptors
  3. Brooklyn Nets
  4. Chicago Bulls
  5. Orlando Magic

Group C

  1. Sacramento Kings
  2. Golden State Warriors
  3. Minnesota Timberwolves
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder
  5. San Antonio Spurs

Tournament Schedule Released

The NBA in-season tournament will kick off on November 3, not even two weeks after the season begins on October 24. The group stage will run thru most of November, with games being played every Tuesday. The group stage and quarterfinals will end on November 28.

The semifinals (or Final Four) will be played in Las Vegas on December 7, with the championship being played on December 9.

Trophy and Cash Prizes for Winning Teams

The NBA also unveiled a new trophy for the tournament, known as the NBA Cup. On top of the trophy, players will win get bonuses depending on where they finish ranging from $50,000 (Quarterfinal loser) to $500,000 (NBA Cup winner). The bonuses are meant to ensure players take the tournament seriously as the league works to establish it.

Who Is the Betting Favorite to Win the NBA Cup

The betting favorites to win the NBA Cup and the NBA Finals are essentially the same. With many still wondering how the tournament will look come November, NBA betting sites are counting on the best teams dominating the tournament.  

DraftKings Sportsbook has the following odds for the top five favorites: 

  • Boston Celtics +700
  • Denver Nuggets +950
  • Milwaukee Bucks +1000
  • Phoenix Suns +1100
  • Golden State Warriors +1200

 While it is hard to gauge how these teams will approach the new tournament, there are a lot of great betting opportunities out there. The odds are far better than those for the NBA Finals, thanks to the single-elimination approach and newness of the tournament. No matter who you bet on, payouts will certainly be large.

Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid. As an adult, Michael started picking games for a small sports betting site and has built it into a career. His experience allows him to provide tips and information to help other bettors improve their game. Michael cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams, the Arizona State Sun Devils (his alma mater), and the Ottawa Senators. He specializes in baseball betting but has extensive experience in football, basketball, and hockey. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children or hiking and enjoying the outdoors.