82 Games Might Be Out, But 78 Still Possible

Here’s how the drill goes.  

The Union and NBA negotiate.  Talks break down.  David Stern says something dire. And then journalists figure out what he really meant by the things he said.  

So when Stern said last Friday that “there will not be a full NBA season under any circumstances,” he wasn’t lying.  But he apparently made it sound a LOT worse than it was.  According to the New York Post (via CBS), it’s possible to save all but four games. 

[M]ultiple sources predict a 78-game slate will be staged if the sides compromise on the revenue split by next weekend. The final schedule has to be an even number, sources said.

“Anything is possible,” one union source said. “If the handshake is a week later, it’s a week less of games.”

At this point, though, I’m not so sure it matters that we get to as close to 82 as possible.  I think the more important thing is to have a schedule that more accurately reflects an actual NBA schedule.  So if that means we start on Dec. 1 and play 60-something games, I’m fine with that. I’d rather see that kind of schedule than the kind of schedule that crams back-to-back-to-back games in so they can salvage a 70+ game season. 

However, as we’ve seen from the beginning of all this, it’s all about money.  And the NBA will cram extra games in if it can because those are other games that can bring in revenue.  And once the season starts, the players get paid the remainder of their contracts whether they play 10 or 100 games, so owners will be all for scheduling as many games as possible.  Especially the owners who have decent young teams that can better handle the increased workload. 

One thing is for sure:  you can toss all those original schedules out the window.  Everything will be re-done.  So just because your team missed out on, say, Derrick Rose and the Bulls coming to town on a certain day doesn’t mean it won’t happen on another.  Cancelling parts of the season doesn’t mean those exact games will be gone.  A new schedule is on its way.  And it could be 78 games long.