The Lakers will kick off their portion of the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament with what’s expected to be a star-studded matchup against the Suns on Nov. 10 in Phoenix, the league revealed Tuesday afternoon as part of its larger NBA Cup schedule announcement.
The tournament kicks off Nov. 3 and will feature every NBA team. Group play games, the first of two stages of the tournament, will take place on Tuesdays and Fridays throughout November.
All 30 teams were randomly split into groups of five within their conference (three groups in each conference) based on win-loss records from the 2022-23 regular season.
The Lakers were placed in West Group A along with the Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies and Utah Jazz. Their four group-play games are:
Nov. 10: at Suns (7 p.m.; ESPN)
Nov. 14: vs. Grizzlies (7:30 p.m.)
Nov. 17: at Blazers (7 p.m.)
Nov. 21: vs. Jazz (7 p.m.; TNT)
Eight teams will advance from group play into the knockout rounds: the six group winners and two “wild cards” – the team from each conference with the best record in group play games that finished second in its group.
The knockout rounds will feature single-elimination games in the quarterfinals (Dec. 4-5), semifinals (Dec. 7) and championship (Dec. 9). The semifinals and championship will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The 22 teams that don’t advance to the quarterfinals will be assigned two regular-season games (one home game and one away game) that will be played Dec. 6 and Dec. 8. A formulaic approach will determine the matchups for those 22 games using the group play standings.
The in-season tournament prize pool that’ll be allocated to the players on the teams that participate in the knockout rounds:
- Players on winning team of Championship: $500,000 each
- Players on losing team of Championship: $200,000 each
- Players on losing team of Semifinals: $100,000 each
- Players on losing team of Quarterfinals: $50,000 each
The 67 total games across both stages of the in-season 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, including the group play and knockout rounds games.
The league’s entire 2023-24 regular-season schedule will be released at noon Thursday. The Lakers’ eight known regular-season games:
Oct. 24: at Denver Nuggets (season opener);
Oct. 26: vs. Phoenix Suns (home opener);
Nov. 1: vs. Clippers;
Nov. 10: at Suns (in-season tournament)
Nov. 14: vs. Grizzlies (in-season tournament);
Nov. 17: at Blazers (in-season tournament);
Nov. 21: vs. Jazz (in-season tournament);
Dec. 25: vs. Boston Celtics (Christmas matchup).