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2011-12 NBA Season: Shortened Schedule Better Than No Season At All

If all goes well today, and not much has involving the NBA owners and players over the past five months, a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement will be ratified and training camps will open their doors starting Friday.

2010-11 NBA World Champion Dallas Mavericks
2010-11 NBA World Champion Dallas Mavericks

It really doesn't matter if you viewed the nearly five-month NBA lockout in a positive or pessimistic manner. Wiser heads finally prevailed, thus preserving what they could of the 2011-12 NBA season.

Most of us will never know how perilously close the negotiations came to reaching a permanent impasse and becoming the first major sports league since the National Hockey League in 2004-05 to cancel a full season because the owners and players couldn't agree on how to make billionaires and millionaires even richer.

In any detailed agreement, such as the new NBA collective bargaining agreement, they say the devil is in the details. While all points in the NBA's new labor agreement have been accepted by representative of the owners and the players, the deal still needs to be ratified by the players and officially voted on by the owners. That final sign-off process began on Wednesday and is continuing today. The league owners are schedule to meet later today to vote on the agreement.

If the majority on both sides agrees to the new CBA, free agency and training camps will open on Friday, as planned. That will be welcome news for avid followers of professional basketball.

Although 16 games or two months of the 2011-12 NBA season have been lost because of the lockout by owners and the failure of the owners and the Players Association to come to agreement sooner on a new labor deal, most fans will not feel that they have missed out on much, given that the void has been filled by the overlap of college and pro football and the start of the college basketball season. As a result owners do not expect much of a drop off, if any, in game attendance once the season finally tips off on Christmas Day, when five games are scheduled to officially open the abbreviated 2011-12 season.

The five games that will tip off the schedule on Dec. 35 include Boston at New York; a rematch of last season's NBA Finals, with Miami taking on the world-champion Mavericks in Dallas; Chicago at Los Angeles; Orlando visiting Oklahoma City and Golden State hosting Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers in the late game. All five games will be televised. The rest of the league will get under way the following day (Dec. 26), when 10 more games are scheduled.