The NBA's revised 2011-12 schedule will not be released Thursday or Friday, contrary to rumor and some wishful thinking from anxious fans.
Early next week is a more reasonable expectation because deciding when and where to play 990 regular-season games is a substantial task.
If the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified as expected, the NBA has targeted Dec. 25 as opening day. The league has determined the 66-game schedule will be structured with 48 conference games and 18 nonconference games.
The NBA announced three games originally scheduled for Christmas Day will be retained — Celtics at Knicks; Heat at Mavericks; Bulls at Lakers — but did not specify if more Christmas games potentially would be added.
The league's goal is to start training camps on Dec. 9, which also will begin the free agency process and would be the first day to sign players such as rookies in the 2011 NBA Draft.
The number of exhibition games is not yet known, but it likely will consist of a home-and-home against a team of proximity, perhaps resulting in the Thunder playing the world champion Dallas Mavericks in a matchup of last season's Western Conference Finals.
PLAYERS CONFIDENT IN DEAL
Not many of the NBA players who gathered Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles to play in a charity game hosted by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Baron Davis had gone over the details of the tentatively agreed to new collective bargaining agreement.
The league and the players association are still negotiating secondary “B-List” issues and the players union still needs to reform and put the new CBA to a vote among union members.
Unlike in the NFL, where there was a last minute panic among players over the finer print in the deal, no one seemed particularly concerned that this deal could fall apart.
Thunder guard James Harden said he was surprised the deal got done so quickly but is relieved the lockout should end soon. “I feel like I just got drafted again,” Harden said. “I'm just excited. It's a sigh of relief and now it's time to get to work.”
Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes: “I think for them to bring it to a vote, they definitely met some things we were asking for. For us to even to come to a vote, because last time we weren't even close to having a vote. For us to come to a vote, it's close to as good as it's gonna get. So let's just go out there and play.”
Toronto Raptors forward DeMar DeRozan: “I think it's gonna get done. I think we went through a lot of ups and downs (to get) this far. I think everybody will accept this deal and we'll get back to work. We didn't necessarily get everything we want, but that's how it was gonna end. We wasn't get everything, they wasn't gonna get everything. So everybody just had to come to a compromise.”
JUDGE ASKED TO HOLD CASE
A group of NBA players that filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league is asking a Minnesota judge to hold off on any court proceedings while the two sides work on a new collective bargaining agreement.
The players sent a letter to U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz on Monday. The letter informs the judge the two sides have reached a tentative agreement to resolve their labor dispute, including lawsuits filed in Minnesota by the players and in New York by the owners.
It states that both sides are working to “reduce the tentative resolution to a comprehensive, written agreement.” The players ask Schiltz to stay all scheduled court proceedings until Dec. 9, by which time they plan to inform him on whether a settlement has been finished.