Whenever the NBA labor issue gets resolved — please be Friday, please be Friday — the next question becomes: When do we start? And how many games can we get in?
That second part is tricky. Owners and players both would love to get in a full 82 games, for the exact same reasons there was a lockout in the first place — money. Any games missed is money the players don’t get in a paycheck. Games missed means owners refunding sponsors and season ticket holders a portion of their payments.
There are things the NBA can do to fit in more games. First, condense the playoffs (particularly the first round). They can push the season back (a little, but with Team USA expected to open its Olympics training camp by July 5 the league can’t go too far back).
Can they fit in a full 82? Maybe, but is that wise? A condensed schedule with more back-to-backs is not good for the game or the players. I’d rather the two sides schedule 70-75 games at a more normal spacing. Let’s focus on the game, not the money for a minute.
Besides, after this lockout, I want the owners and players to feel a little more pain, too.