As the NBA regular season comes to a close, players and teams are coming to grips with what the league's new Play-In Tournament may mean for them. Teams set to earn lower playoff seeds now face the prospect of having to do more to earn their spots, and LeBron James is not happy about it.
The Los Angeles Lakers lost their third straight game on Sunday night, dropping them into a virtual tie in the sixth and seventh seeds. If they fall to anywhere between seven and 10, they will have to be in the Play-In Tournament and James is not exactly a fan of the rule change.
"Whoever came up with that s--- needs to be fired," he told reporters.
James has had mixed opinions about it before, even sort of offering his support for the idea last summer. But now that it could affect his team directly, he has changed his tune.
How many teams will make the NBA Play-In Tournament?
Last year, there were four Game 7s in the entire playoffs. The two previous years featured three of them and the season before that, 2016-17, had only two Game 7s.
The Play-In Tournament, meanwhile, adds four single-elimination games, two in each conference. After the seventh and eighth seeds play, the loser has to play the winner of the nine and 10-seed matchup, with the loser being eliminated. The nine and 10-seed game loser will also go home.
When is the NBA Play-In Tournament?
The NBA Play-In Tournament will begin May 18, two days after the final regular season games are played.
The tournament will conclude on May 21, with the first round of the NBA playoffs tipping off Saturday, May 22.