The NBA lockout unofficially ended. Almost everybody was asleep. How’s that for irony?
The owners and players reached a tentative agreement on a new deal at about 3 a.m. So congratulations to both sides for proving once again that in all CBA talks, money generally trumps stupidity at some point.
Players lost paychecks. Owners, at least those who make money, lost revenue. The NBA, a winter league that’s constantly fighting for attention in the window between football and baseball, suffered an unnecessary shot to its image.
All of the ushers, peanut vendors, parking attendants and business owners near NBA arenas who lost a month’s worth of revenue are out of luck
Wasn’t that worth it?
It’s nonsensical to declare winners and losers. Everybody lost. Just leave it at that.
If the players approve the deal as expected, the league will resume play on Christmas. Teams will play a 66-game season. The Hawks were scheduled to play on Dec. 27 game at New Jersey on the original schedule but it’s not certain if that will hold as their opener.
Regardless, the Hawks — and most NBA teams not named the Lakers — will have struggle early to get attention. The first three weeks of the NBA season will coincide with the final two weeks of the NFL’s regular season and the first week of the playoffs.
With training camps expected to open Dec. 9, that leaves only 16 days for free agency and trades before the season opens. It will be chaotic.
And what of the Hawks? They’re like a franchise on Craigslist. A potential sale from the Atlanta Spirit to Los Angeles businessman Alex Meruelo fell through during this 149-day lockout. Unless a new buyer emerges, how seriously can we expect existing ownership to seek significant changes and improvements on the team?
The Hawks are coming off a pretty solid playoff run last season, eliminating nemesis Orlando in the first round and then losing to Chicago in six games in the second. The Hawks have some significant issues to resolve, such as the unrestricted free agency of Jamal Crawford and whether to pursue a trade involving Josh Smith, who grew tired of being the lightning rod for criticism last season.
The problem: With only 16 days to settle the the roster and ownership in flux, major moves don’t appear likely. It’s not a good situation.
But there will be a season. It just may take a while before everybody notices.
By Jeff Schultz