Professional football is back.
Who knows when we'll be able to say the same for its basketball brethren?
But if you're a fan of the NBA, you can only hope Monday's end to the NFL lockout stimulates some sort of momentum for a similar agreement.
Maybe it puts pressure on pro ball's power brokers. If misery loves company, she just lost her lone partner. Soon after this whirlwind week of football transactions concludes, the NBA could begin to soak up some of the networks' blanket coverage of the NFL's lockout.
Daily cutaways of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell could turn into images of NBA commish David Stern. Shots of NFL players association head DeMaurice Smith could be replaced by NBA counterpart Billy Hunter. And B-roll of NFL owners Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft walking through hotel lobbies could be supplanted by similar shots of Mark Cuban and Jerry Buss.
But that day seems so far away.
The NFL reached an agreement after 132 days. That's 41/2 months of on-again, off-again wrangling and heated negotiations.
The NBA is only in Day 26.
And the two sides are currently in the off-again stage of negotiations, adding credence to many observers' beliefs that the NBA season will not start on schedule.
Making matters worse, the NBA, by all accounts, has deeper rooted issues in play than the NFL experienced when attempting to hammer out its new collective bargaining agreement. Unlike the NFL, by far the biggest cash cow of North American professional sports, the NBA system really is broken. Teams are hemorrhaging money. Twenty-two franchises lost money last year if you take the league at its word. Their total losses add up to roughly $300 million.
It's created enough of a financial burden to lead owners to dig in and demand a completely overhauled system.
Only minor progress was made in the final days before the lockout went into effect. The same issues that have been sticking points for the past two years remain, by and large, the same points of contention now.
Owners have backed off their stance of eliminating guaranteed contracts but continue to stand firm in seeking a more favorable split in basketball related income (the players currently receive 57 percent), a hard salary cap and shorter contracts among other desires.
The NBA is finding it hard to even agree to the length of a ratified CBA. Owners prefer the same 10-year deal the NFL put in place. Players have yet to concede any deal lasting longer than six years.
It seems the NBA's labor dispute has only one thing in common with the NFL's.
Nearly a month into the NFL's work stoppage, the two sides also weren't involved in any dialogue. It took a judge to order the two sides back to the negotiating table.
That looks to be the best thing NBA fans can as for at this point.