The NBA players and owners have reached a tentative deal to end the league’s months-long lockout and begin play by Christmas Day, but a few hurdles still remain to be cleared.
Both sides need to endorse the tentative agreement, leading to an official collective bargaining agreement and its eventual ratification. Both sides say they expect a resolution to come officially within the week.
“We’ve reached a tentative understanding that is subject to a variety of approvals. … We’re optimistic that will all come to pass and that the NBA season will begin on December 25 – Christmas Day – a triple-header,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said Saturday. He didn’t say which teams would play in the holiday games but added that it’s expected there will be 66 games this season.
Derek Fisher, president of the National Basketball Players Association, thanked fans for their role during the 149-day lockout.
“Our fans and the support from the people and (their) patience through a large part of this process – that’s where a lot of this credit goes to,” Fisher said. “The efforts that have been made have been largely with them in mind.”
And fans will certainly get their share of makeup games.
It will come in the form of some teams playing back-to-back games to fit their schedules in to the season. At least one pair of back-to-back games will be set for each team, the NBA said in a release breaking down the schedule. But no team will play more than three back-to-back-to-back games scheduled for the season, the league said. This frantic pace of quick turnarounds could also occur during the second round of the playoffs, the NBA said. And it could mean that some teams will have to stretch and make the most of their benches.
But whether some like that schedule setup or not, having players on the bench ready to jump into the game and onto the court to play after all these months seems to be all that matters to the teams, players and fans.
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