The NBA Is Back!
Finally, after extensive longer than they ever should have taken negotiations, public declarations of steadfastness and solidarity, decertification, and an alleged blow-up between D. Wade and David Stern, Christmas has come early for hoops fans all over the world. The NBA season is back on as the result of a tentative deal. If the deal is approved, actual gameplay will resume Dec. 25th.
While mum is the word on the specifics of the deal, they seem to have come as a result of a 15-hour meeting November 25th. Both sides have to ratify the deal in order for it to go into effect.
The lawsuit the players filed against the league, asserting that the lockout was illegal, could’ve resulted in the players’ association receiving $6 billion in damages and may have caused the negotiations to speed up. The players will have to unionize all over again after disbanding the union earlier in the process, but things seem to be getting back to normal and there are hopes to begin training camps Dec. 9.
“All I feel right now is ‘finally,’” said Wade.
Because Christmas is to basketball what Thanksgiving is to football (a showcase day), the games currently scheduled for Dec. 25 are some pretty good matchups. First, the Boston Celtics will take on the revamped New York Knicks (who will probably really be stifled by the lockout). After that is a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals as the defending champion Dallas Mavericks play the loaded Miami Heat. Finally, the Chicago Bulls will face the Los Angeles Lakers.
“…The reason for the settlement was we’ve got fans, we’ve got players who would like to play and we’ve got others who are dependent on us. And it’s always been our goal to reach a deal that was fair to both sides and get us playing as soon as possible, but that took a little time,” said David Stern.
The biggest winners in the entire deal are the vendors and other stadium and team personnel who had no means of income during the lockout as basketball operations were shut down.
The abbreviated season will last for 66 games which will probably place an asterisk on the championship team in the mind of most fans, less than the usual 82, but more than the 50-game season fans experienced last time there was a lockout. Also, a few players will probably be missing in action, having signed contracts to play overseas.
At this point, most fans are probably willing to take what they can get.