The NBA is considering adding a mid-season tournament to their schedule, though details are very sketchy at the moment. The idea would apparently include a single-elimination tournament featuring some or all NBA teams, and potentially some international clubs, to take place in Las Vegas sometime in mid-season.
Pro Basketball Talk has more, but major questions still exist, including what teams would be playing for, and how this would effect the regular season. As far as I can tell, this is something that would have to be bargained with the Union, so a reduction in regular season games would likely be on the table.
It seems to me that the NBA has to be very careful about how they approach this, and there has to be something serious at stake, like a playoff spot (though how that would work I can't quite figure out). Things like this work in Europe (particularly in soccer, though in basketball too) for a couple of reasons: first, tradition. The FA Cup in England and Copa del Rey in Spain have long histories, and also include teams from all levels of professional football. They both started more than 100 years ago, and are entrenched in their countries' sporting cultures.
Even so, many top English sides use FA Cup ties as a chance to rest their regulars and get back ups and young players playing time, at least until the semi-finals and final.
It's hard to imagine that NBA teams would take such a tournament seriously when they are trying to compete for a championship, and if the teams aren't taking it seriously, neither will the fans. In order to make it worthwhile, there has to be a real incentive to win. Apparently, the league took a fan survey and this issue was raised. It's not out of the realm of possibility that the winner would be guaranteed a playoff spot (though again, the good teams are already going to have a playoff spot, so I don't know how much incentive there would be for the best clubs).
Better playoff seeding could also be in play, as could money (though I have a hard time seeing financial incentives really drive a quality tournament like this).
Anyway, on a lazy Saturday afternoon, I thought I'd throw this idea out there and see what you all think. How can this work? Can it work at all?
What ya got?