When most of us were sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner there was one thing that was likely not on our minds—basketball. That was not just because there was a full slate of NFL action and some quality college games on, but because with the way that the negotiations had gone there was little hope or reason to think that something good was going to happen anytime soon.
Maybe that’s what Billy Hunter and David Stern were waiting for. They wanted us to be at our lowest moment; thinking that there was going to be no NBA season this year. Right when we were prepared to make due with nothing but college hoops and charity games—BAM!!!—a tentative agreement is reached!
Assuming all continues to go well, the league even announced that it will be giving fans one heck of a Christmas present with three solid match-ups on opening day of the season (which happens to be Christmas Day): Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks; Miami Heat vs. Dallas Mavericks; Chicago Bulls vs. Los Angeles Lakers.
The suddenness of the agreement really should not be that surprising to fans. Throughout the whole 149/150 day ordeal the two sides seemed to take turns making big, dramatic exits, cancelling talks and making it appear as if the sky was falling (yes, a chicken little reference; I went there).
In moves that were better situated for reality television, there was even a pair of ultimatums that proved to be completely without weight. After the rumors began to circle about talks starting over the holiday weekend, it was being said that Stern was just handing the players yet another ultimatum, this time claiming that the whole season was going to be cancelled if it wasn’t accepted.
Instead, cooler heads and empty pocketbooks finally prevailed! The league had to realize that the backlash could end up being severe if the talks took too long. While we may not get the 82 game schedule we are accustomed to, there will be a 66-game one.
That is, assuming that everything continues to go as planned.
Of course, the white elephant and 800 pound gorilla still in the room is that the deal right now is just a tentative one. Nothing has been made legal; there isn’t anything on paper. Do I need to mention the lawyers may still have a chance to get a hold of it too?
Details will hopefully be unraveling quickly in the next few days. So far, the players that the media have gotten ahold of all appear to be pretty glad to be getting back to playing the game again. Hopefully in the coming days as tensions start to rise when a detail gets misconstrued, something gets misinterpreted, or the owners and players simply disagree they will remember exactly what it is they are talking about—a game.
Now where are my fantasy cheat sheets at?