LAS VEGAS — The NBA has completed the process of changing the transition take foul rule, ending years of discussion about what to do with the long-maligned tactic.
And, also as expected, the play-in tournament is going to be around for the foreseeable future.
The league’s board of governors finalized those two matters Tuesday, approving a plan to award one free throw when teams are disadvantaged by the take foul — as well as removing the “experimental” designation from the play-in element to the postseason.
It wasn’t a surprise that the league changed the penalty on take fouls; Commissioner Adam Silver told The Associated Press in early June that it would change, though cautioned that the new rule might still be tweaked in future years.
The take foul — in which the defender does not make a play on the ball — is what the league classifies as one that occurs either “during a transition scoring opportunity or immediately following a change of possession and before the offensive team had the opportunity to advance the ball.” The exception is in the final 2 minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime.
The new penalty for such a foul is one free throw, which may be attempted by any player on the offended team in the game at the time the foul was committed, and continued possession.
The play-in tournament has generally been considered a success, so it was no surprise that the league is keeping it around.
The play-in tournament — in its current form — has been used in each of the last two seasons, where the teams that finish seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th in the East and West meet to determine the final two playoff spots in each conference.
The No. 7 team plays the No. 8 team, with the winner clinching the No. 7 seed in the playoffs. The No. 9 team plays the No. 10 team, with the loser eliminated and the winner moving on to face the team that lost the 7-8 game. The winner of that matchup is the No. 8 seed.
It’s been a hit, primarily because it tends to give a March Madness feel — four elimination games before the playoffs even begin — and gives more teams incentive to not tank for better odds in the draft lottery.
There was a play-in element in 2020 as well in the restart bubble at Walt Disney World, when Portland beat Memphis for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. Memphis could have gotten the No. 8 seed that year by beating Portland twice; the Blazers had to win only one game to claim the spot.
The NBA and the NBPA announced a new program — jointly funded — to provide payments to approximately 115 ABA players who played at least three seasons but didn’t qualify for NBA pensions. They’ll get “recognition payments” of $3,828 per year of service.
“Our players have a genuine sense of appreciation for those who paved the way and helped us achieve the success we enjoy today,” NBPA Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio said. “We have always considered the ABA players a part of our brotherhood and we are proud to finally recognize them with this benefit.”
Silver said the league and the players “felt a need to act on behalf of these former ABA players who are aging and, in many cases, facing difficult economic circumstances.”