From the day that we see Billy Hunter and David Stern shake hands, it’s going to take at least 30 days to get the NBA regular season started. Which means solve it soon and we can still have hoops on Christmas.
But how many games in the regular season would we see?
The NBA will condense the schedule, they will shrink the playoffs, they will go later — although due to the Team USA Olympic training camp scheduled for a July 5 start they can only go so far — and with all of that they can squeeze in more games.
But how many? Zach Lowe (ever the optimist on these matters) takes a shot at it over at Sports Illustrated.
If the amazing happened and the two sides struck a handshake deal Thursday night and started the season in a month, the league could fit (by my math) about 68 games into a reduced regular-season schedule while playing at normal rest intervals. It could not fit 76 games without committing the sort of serious compression that helped torpedo quality of play in the 1998-99 season.
After this disaster of a lockout, make no mistake that the owners will sacrifice quality of play to get in more revenue — they are going to pack the games in. Every last one they can. Tired legs be damned. They might go for 72 or more games.
At this point, I’d be happy to have the problem of figuring how many games can be fit in and the quality of play issues.