The idea — the hope — goes like this: federal mediator George Cohen is a genius, he gets the NBA owners and players on a track where they get a deal done soon, they start the season a few weeks late but the NBA looks for ways to still pack in a full 82 games plus playoffs. Or maybe 70 games plus playoffs, but a long season either way.
But how to fit all those games in? The first idea that pops into people’s heads — push back the end of the NBA season a week or two.
Except it’s not that simple. For a couple of reasons.
The first one Mark Medina explains at the Los Angeles Times, talking with the people at the Staples Center.
“I’ve heard talk that the players and owners would look to add games past the drop-dead date of the NBA Finals, June 21 — I know they are tinkering with that,” said Lee Zeidman, general manager of Staples Center, home to the Lakers and Clippers.
“It can never happen here….”
“On June 22, 23 and 24, I have tentative concert holds, and at 4 a.m. on June 25, I’m contractually obligated to allow ESPN to start loading [the arena] for the X Games, that start June 30,” Zeidman said. “Then, right after that, I have Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus coming in July 9-15.”
It’s not just the Staples Center, pretty much every major building where NBA teams play faces similar booking issues. Once the NBA season ends other events tend to fill them up.
The other issue is the London Olympics — they tip off July 27. USA Basketball already was pressed for time to hold a training camp, pick a team and get in some exhibition games in before things get serious. Team USA can’t just give up a couple weeks. You can bet whatever teams make the NBA finals will have players invited to that camp if not already team shoe-ins.
No, the NBA finals are going to end by June 21. The playoff timeframe could be condensed (especially the first round) but don’t look for the league to just push things back.