It’s all about the money.
The lockout was largely about money. Cramming 66 games into a condensed schedule was all about the money (revenue for owners, paychecks for players). Every move the NBA makes is about money.
And as another reminder of that — and a big middle finger to hardcore fans — the league is going to charge basically full price for League Pass, the package that lets you get every NBA game at home on your television (via Ball Don’t Lie). The initial price is $169 this year (it was $179 last year for the early bird special, $189 once games started). And that’s just in America, if you live overseas the price is actually going up.
The league will sell that now the mobile broadband — you can watch games on your smartphone — is included rather than extra. Don’t care.
The magic number we wanted was $145 — that was the pro-rated share of 66 games from last year’s price. You can charge us the same per game, but don’t charge us the same as last year when you are giving us less product. Not to mention a sloppier product thanks to a rushed preseason and condensed schedules.
It’s not really the $24 dollars, it’s the symbolic gesture. Kind of a “hey, my bad.”
At no point through the lockout or this preseason has there been evidence that the league really cares about its fans. Sure, there has been lip service. David Stern sent out a swell letter. But actual evidence — some financial or other tangible means of saying the owners and players are sorry for the five months of BS — never showed up.
Because the money matters. Not the fans that provide that money. That’s what the actions say.
The schedule for this season is not up yet on NBA.com. It will not be for a few more days.
What is up though are pictures of NBA players and stories about current NBA players — things that were not on the site during the lockout. Images of current players were banned, which gave the site an odd feel. It looks like NBA.com again now, and NBA TV also is not just running classic games anymore. They are building toward a season. Finally.
NBA TV will host an NBA schedule release show next Tuesday (Dec. 6) at 7 p.m. Eastern.
This will be a 66-game schedule that will be tightly condensed, with teams playing a lot of back-to-backs and all teams playing at least one back-to-back-to-back. There will be one break for the All-Star Game in Orlando on Feb. 26.
A lot of details of the schedule will likely leak before then, but next Tuesday will be the big, official unveiling. For example, we already know four of the five Christmas Day games — Boston at New York, Miami at Dallas (so LeBron James gets to watch Dirk Nowitzki get his ring), Chicago at the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State. The fifth game is rumored to involve Oklahoma City as host, but nothing is confirmed yet.
It’s just good to be talking about games and schedules rather than antitrust law. And it’s good to log on to NBA.com and see current players again. As it should be.
Boston is not going to miss Nate Robinson on the court that much, to be honest (he was traded to Oklahoma City at the deadline). Carlos Arroyo will do just fine, he’s not as explosive but much more steady.
Off the court? Yea, they miss him.
Nate was the class clown, as you can see from this video clip, part of the latest installation of The Association on NBA TV where they follow around one team through a season. (Think full season of Hard Knocks, but a little more polished and not quite as good.)