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. Alcinder

    The reason for this lockout was greed. Pensions and medical benefits? Instead of bling, ho's and cribs, save a little of your millions for a doctor appointment! I second the motion on a boycott. News reports sugar coat that the fans are eager for games to start. There is a majority that are P.O.'d that money was the only factor in this ridiculousness. Fan and hometown loyalty were way down the list. It's still not over, but I wont be there when it starts back up.

    November 28, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      News flash! NBA to play!
      (Yawn...)

      November 28, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Stupid, rich, greedy numbskulls.
      Boycott the games.

      November 28, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Phil in Oregon

      If I made $5mil ONE YEAR, I wouldn't have to work any more unless I wanted to. Yet the guys make $200 million in their career and end up on skid row.

      November 28, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • M. J. Clancy Jr.

      Who really cares ? ! ? Done with NBA ...

      November 28, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. s kel

    Do like I do, dont get overly hyped up over sports. Im refering to any sports. We have more pressing issues in this country.

    November 28, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff Braun

    Derek Fisher, you certainly didn't have the support of this fan.

    November 28, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. joe atkinson

    I'm sure the fans will pay for all this greed,maybe it's time for the fans to lock out.

    November 28, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Brent

      This would be the greatest thing that could happen to the NBA. Remind the powers to be who pays the bills.

      November 28, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. Greenspam

    If Americans spend the same amount of energy in following sports as they pay attention to politics and elect the right people, our country will not be in this mess right now.

    November 28, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. karma wangchuk

    players should be equally hardworking and committed to the match in every season, if Miami have all top 10 players like Lebron James, the Miami would remain undefeated for years to come. I'm proud that he works more than any superstar, may he would be legendary king in NBA.

    November 28, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. Feast of Beast

    All professional sports franchises in the USA can collapse for all I care. The ridiculous salaries and the resultant costs to fans should never have gotten anywhere near what they are now. Million of dollars to throw a ball around? No way will I ever support that.

    November 28, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. Beverly NC

    How will they get back on the court? Skate in on the millions they make to bore us all to death. Because of their greed, the ticket prices to their mind-numbing games are even going up. They obviously are the 1% since they take all the money they can get and then stick the cost to the middle class who can least afford. None of these players are worth what they are paid. They should be ashamed when so many Americans are now homeless, desperate, without food, have no job due to Republican obstruction of all jobs efforts, and are wondering how to pay bills every month. The greed in this country is sickening. Get rid of these corrupt Republicans who kiss the feet of these corporations like the NBA and ignore the People they swore an oath to serve and have betrayed over and over.

    November 28, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  9. NBA SUCKS

    NBA SUCKS!

    November 28, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  10. Aunt Matilda

    LeBron James, the legendary King of the NBA? Are you out of your mind, woodchuck? That would be Michael Jordan.

    November 28, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  11. Chris

    Boycott the NBA. do not go to the games, do not pay these greedy, ultra-rich babies. Stop supporting them and they'll go away.

    November 28, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. Marlene

    Unoccupy the NBA! I am furious with the players and management–their greed is disgusting! When I think of the vendors and small business owners who will not be able to recover from their losses, I feel tearful and ashamed. The average annual income in the country is 30K. Entire families of one, two and three generations are homeless and they fight over the ridiculous millions they make for throwing a ball threw a whole! We, who gather to watch them do it, have lost our minds if we support them this year. I never want to hear the NBA talk about their love of the fans again. They could care less about the fans, so I'm sure that they wont shed a tear for me–one that they have lost.

    Moreover, I dare anyone in my modest home to support them again!

    November 28, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  13. glenn

    Excuse me the NBA? Who are they? Part of the Tea Party?

    November 28, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dave

    @glenn. What do the teatards have anything to do with this?

    November 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. marc j

    Glad they finally might have figured something out. NBA is great and very entertaining, my fall was missing something so far.
    And for all of you who claim this was only a greed-driven lockout, bare in mind that NBA players only have a career (and salary) for 10-15 years. Not all of them get to work for ESPN afterwards...

    November 28, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
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