The good news is that the league isn’t pushing back the start of the season indefinitely, it looks like just two more weeks. Of course the point of missing two more weeks is to make sure the players miss a paycheck and feel some real pain.
Well, maybe that’s not good news.
Multiple reports (the New York Daily News was first) now have the NBA officially canceling two more weeks of the season on Tuesday. All games through Nov. 28, the games through the weekend after Thanksgiving, will be called off.
The first two weeks of NBA games — 100 games in total through Nov. 14 — had already been canceled by the league after talks had stalled out previously. The new cancellations would mean that 202 total games (about 16 percent of the season) would be called off.
This second cancellation will hit the players in the pocket books. Players get paid on the 15th and 30th of the month during the season, which means their first paycheck was to be Nov. 15. There has been a faction of owners that from the start have wanted to drag this out and make the players miss paychecks and feel pain. The players know this and some countered in recent years by requiring their payments be spread out over a year. Still, this will hurt a lot of players.
NBA Commissioner David Stern had said a couple weeks back his gut was that if a deal wasn’t worked out with a federal mediator he thought there would be no games on Christmas. Those talks blew up in an ugly fashion last Thursday, and the two sides have not met since, nor are any meetings scheduled.
It’s far too early for the league to cancel Christmas games, which are a huge showcase for the league and the first games on national broadcast television. It’s a showcase day that is scheduled to feature a finals rematch of the Heat and Mavericks, as well as the Lakers vs. Bulls.
Optimists around the league still think we will see those games, but there are fewer and fewer of those around. They are becoming an endangered species.
Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:
We likely won’t know more about the extent of his injury until tomorrow, but if it was serious, that would be a major loss for the Hornets. Kidd-Gilchrist is their best perimeter defender and an important piece if they hope to compete for a playoff spot this year.
CHICAGO — Derrick Rose is nearing a return to practice with the Bulls. After undergoing surgery on Wednesday to repair a fractured left orbital suffered in practice on Tuesday, Rose’s recovery is going as expected and he’s expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday.
“The follow-up [exam] went very well,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after practice on Saturday. “They’ve advised him to continue to let that site heal, and they think the best way for him to do that is to stay at home at this time. We plan on him being back on Wednesday morning.”
Rose won’t be able to participate in practice for another week after that — Hoiberg said the previously announced two-week timetable for returning to basketball activities remains on schedule — but with a radically different offense, there’s a lot to learn, and just being around the team to watch practices and learn the new play sets is important.
“We’re going to actually get over there and watch some film with him today,” Hoiberg said. “Because again, like we talked about [Friday], we’ve added new sets, new things, so we’ll get him caught up by a couple of coaches going over and seeing him at his house.”
The two-week timetable puts Rose’s return to basketball activity around next Wednesday, October 14. From there, it will be a matter of getting him back into game shape before Hoiberg is comfortable playing him in games.
Hoiberg said earlier this week that he is optimistic Rose will be able to play when the Bulls kick off the regular season at home on October 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.