Now that the NBA lockout is close to officially being over, it is time to look at what lies ahead. We don't know the details yet, but it appears the tentative plan is for free agency and training camps to start in two weeks, then for a 66-game schedule to begin on Christmas. The Los Angeles Lakers were originally scheduled to host the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center on December 25.
The original schedule called for the Lakers to play 56 games from December 25 through the end of the season, which was slated to end on April 18 in Denver. Depending on how long the NBA season is extended, if at all, it appears the schedule will be a little more densely packed than usual.
In the 26 games wiped out from the original Lakers' schedule, 12 were home games and 14 were road contests. They would have missed a pair of games with Oklahoma City, plus games against the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, and New York Knicks. Again, we don't know exactly how the new schedule will play out, but we can guess.
In the lockout-shortened 50-game season in 1999, teams played the vast majority of their schedule against their own conference. Teams played either five or six games against the opposite conference, and 44 or 45 games against their own conference. If teams played one game each against the 15 teams in the opposite conference, that would leave 51 games against the same conference, for example.
In the press conference announcing the deal, Lakers' guard and NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher said Friday night, "There's a lot of work left to do -- attorneys and lawyers will handle a lot of the heavy lifting -- but for myself it's great to be a part of this moment and give our fans what they wanted to see."
It's great that the NBA is back. Now the fans just want to see the details.
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