Matt Winick spends six months compiling the NBA schedule.
Winick juggles games around concerts, the NHL, a rodeo or a circus. This season, he must work around Oklahoma City hosting the Big 12 men's and women's basketball tournaments at the Ford Center in March. The Blazers and Yard Dawgz will factor into the process, too.
"We have 1,230 games,” said Winick, the NBA's vice president of operations who has drawn up NBA schedules for 24 years. "It's like a puzzle with 1,230 pieces. They all have to fit. It's extremely complicated. At times during the process it can be frustrating.”
Winick starts in February. Teams supply at least 50 to 60 available dates. Six months later, the final schedule is completed.
Because of the Sonics' uncertain home base, Winick worked with two different schedules the first five months, one for Seattle and one for Oklahoma City. The uncertainty ended July 2 when team chairman Clay Bennett announced the Sonics were relocating to Oklahoma City.
The NBA schedule traditionally is announced the first week of August. Winick said he's about "three or four days behind” his usual pace.
"Oklahoma City is part of it,” Winick said. "Some other arenas have been part of it. But there are a number of factors.