November 28th, 2011
08:42 AM ET

A few hurdles for NBA, but then back-to-back-to-back games begin

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.

There's been a fair share of bickering, quibbling and criticism surrounding the lockout. It was agonizing for many Americans to watch people fight over millions while some workers employed by the teams faced losing health insurance and local businesses suffered losses without any games played.

At the center of the dispute behind the lockout was the debate over how much of the league's revenue share should go to players, including for pensions and medical benefits, something their union funded in the past. Other thorny issues were the soft salary cap and the luxury tax. A hard cap does not allow teams to exceed the salary cap for any reason, whereas a soft cap lets teams exceed the cap to retain a player under the so-called Larry Bird rule. The luxury tax kicks in when teams exceed the soft cap by a certain amount.

Certainly, when the season tipoff begins, many fans will be happy to no longer hear about all these business details but just be glad to see players finally getting down to the business of playing ball.

Read the terms of the tentative deal | SI.com: NBA leaders compromise for greater good

And if you just can't wait to see how things will break down for the teams, the NBA released these details of how the schedule will play out for the 2011-20212 season via Twitter on Sunday night:

Regular season start date: December 25

Regular season end date: April 26

Playoffs start date: April 28

Last possible finals date: June 26

Individual team schedule breakdown

Conference games: 48

• Play six teams four times (two home, two away)

• Play four teams three times (two home, one away)

• Play four teams three times (one home, two away)

Nonconference games: 18

• Play three teams two times (one home, one away)

• Play six teams one time at home

• Play six teams one time away

Back-to-back-to-backs: All teams will have at least one but no more than three.

Playoff back-to-backs: Possible in second round

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Filed under: Basketball • NBA • Sports
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. scot

    Who really cares about these guys and the NBA anymore anyway ?

    November 28, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. kurtinco

    Yippy, the NBA is back!!! I can't wait to watch all these overpaid man-boys back in action. Back to back games are bound to keep these mofos from raping and fighting for the rest of the season.

    November 28, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    I can honestly say I don't care.

    November 28, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jonathan S.

    This is a poorly-written article. The scheduling change is a back-to-back-to-back, or three games in three nights, which is never done during a normal season. The article fails to note this distinction.

    November 28, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joe

    Hahaha you're so clever. It's not like that statement hasn't been recycled and reused a million times in the past month. Get over it! You're as excited as anybody else!!!

    November 28, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dkenn

    Calling all NBA fans to boycott these games! Who cares if the NBA comes back! Pure greed! Bet you still charge me $8.00 for a dam hot dog?

    November 28, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ed

    Its funny that people say who cares about the NBA, but the article was posted at 8:42 and the first poster had already read the article and commented at 8:57. If you dont care about the NBA,why waste your time reading about it.

    November 28, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • If you don't like the NBA then don't read the article!

      Glad the NBA is back!

      November 28, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    My husband cares.
    I don't.

    November 28, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. Hey, Ed!

    So what's your opinion?

    November 28, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. Ian

    Boycott professional basketball and the NBA. No redeeming qualities.

    November 28, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      The NBA isn't perfect. This lockout was mainly about greed and pride. The "system" still favors the rich teams (but not nearly as bad as baseball). Everyone makes a lot of money for owning a team or playing a game.

      But, the NBA on the court is awesome, a chess match every night with some of the best athletes in the world. Like other sports or movies or books or plays, the NBA provides entertainment, useful diversion from the daily grind, and hope.

      Is the NBA as important as solving homelessness, joblessness, violence, disease, and other issues in the world? No.

      Would the world be better off without it? Also no.

      November 28, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mark

    Do you realize just how much of America's income is sent to the NBA (or other major sports). A mighty few people or "superstars" as they are known as, collect millions and millions of dollars from fans. Owners collect as well. Even if you do not go to games, the high costs of advertising, naming rights for arenas and stadiums, as well as coporate seats at these games (and they are always the high-end loges and tickets) paid by Corporate america, are passed down to consumers in inflated prices for their goods and services so they can pay all these high expenses (as well as their bonuses), and the fans, as well as nonfans pay. As long as we have this frenzy of people paying high bucks for these games, this trend will continue. America is in sad shape right now; look at other countires economies....they are not paying their superstars these exorbinant salaries, and their economies, in many cases are doing better. This is not the only reason, but it is one of many causing the economic problems in the USA. At a minumum, fans need to band together to voice their overall unhappiness with this overall situation, by starting to cease going to these games. As long as these prices are paid, this will all continue.

    November 28, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    I didn't read the article, (wouldn't waste my time) only came here to tell you that I didn't care about the NBA before and I still don't care about the NBA!

    November 28, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      I'm betting that even less people care about your opinion.

      November 28, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Roy

    Nothing more than a 10 million dollar a year contract for the elite that are deserving. The balance of players should not be paid anymore than under 5 million and for most under 2 million. Furthermore paid them all a lot less with a nice pension plan after 7 years of service. Come up with a solution that drives the love for the game rather than just money. As well look at the NBA 25 -30 years ago, this tatoo and Rap crap has also made the NBA into a side show circus of radicalism. These kids coming up from the ranks and from the streets need to all focus on being the best role models possible instead of being influenced by money, RAP and tatoos, what a bunch of crap this league has turned into.

    November 28, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. Sean Felder

    About time this damn lockout ended.About time.

    November 28, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. s kel

    WHO THE HELL CARES! NOT JUST THIS BUT THE NFL ,NLB, ALB, NHL. NOW THE RACIST INBREAD METHSMOKING KURTINCO CAN GO PLAY WITH HIS LOADED WEAPON IN HIS MOUTH!

    November 28, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
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