So we know the first two weeks of the 2011-12 NBA season will not happen because of the lockout. But is that all the court time we are going to miss?
Will the NBA be back for the big Christmas Day slate of games? Will it return around the time the NFL season ends, just like in 1999?
Or will there be no season?
Writers from around the Tribune Co. will be discussing the topic -- check back throughout the day for more responses. And join in the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.
[Updated at 12:24 p.m.:
Barry Stavro, Los Angeles Times
All entertainment conglomerates love sequels, so let’s call this one: 1998-99, version 2.0.
Granted, David Stern really likes his marquee games on Christmas Day, but those will pass without a game being played.
Then, like the last NBA work stoppage 13 years ago, around the first of January the huffing and puffing by the labor combatants will intensify, saying this the absolute last chance to s-a-l-v-a-g-e the season. So Stern and players union boss Billy Hunter will convene once again, someone will blink first, and the framework of a new labor deal will be reached.
And voila, like the last time, around early February the games will begin ... in a compressed regular season format of about 50 games.
K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune
The easy answer to when the NBA lockout ends is whenever the league wins. That the two sides spent all last week negotiating the split of basketball-related income and then -- on the day Commissioner David Stern announced cancellations -- huge gaps on all system issues were revealed, suggests it will be awhile.
The owners aren't losing this one. The comments of Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver about all 30 teams needing a chance to win a title means increased revenue sharing and stiffer luxury tax penalties will be in place, even if, technically, a hard salary cap isn't. But the owners will get their way. The union acts and sounds as if it's united, even though players will miss paychecks now.
So I'm guessing late December or early January. That's better than an entire season, which was my guess over the summer. I do think the amount of negotiating that has transpired is a good sign. That's about the only one.
Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun Sentinel
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, in every single way.
When it comes to NBA lockout history, that actually would be a step forward, considering the only previous NBA lockout, in 1998-99, did not end until January 1999, with games starting in February.
Since then, much has changed when it comes to the NBA's Christmas showcases, with the league essentially taking over the day's schedule when the NFL is not in the way.
While there had been hope of something sooner, to make a dramatic turn at this stage would come off as a concession by the union or the commissioner. And each side has come too far to back down now.
The NBA until Christmas is little more than background noise. You would be surprised how many NBA players during November and December check at the scorers' table during timeouts for NFL and NCAA updates.
So Christmas it is, even for those who have been naughty, with a lockout not so nice.]
[Updated at 1:12 p.m.:
Zach McCann, Orlando Sentinel
No matter how they posture in the media, neither the owners nor the players want to miss an entire NBA season.
The owners have the stronger arm in the negotiations -– because they control the money -– but they collectively earn hundreds of millions of dollars every NBA season and don’t want to erase all the momentum the league built last season. And the players will begin missing paychecks in mid-November, a consequence that’ll certainly add more urgency to the negotiations.
I believe once the season’s mortality truly comes into question -– in December or early January -– the two sides will strike a deal and we’ll see a shortened, 50-game season, just like the NBA’s last extended lockout in 1998-99.
The owners will ultimately win the deal because they own all the leverage.
And it would cost both sides too much to miss an entire season.]
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Photo: Derek Fisher, center, president of the NBA players union, is joined by union Executive Director Billy Hunter, right, and other NBA players during a news conference Sept. 15. Credit: Julie Jacobson / Associated Press