The NBA and its players’ union were unable to reach an agreement on Thursday, but the league did present a proposal that could result in a 72-game season that starts on Dec. 15 – or no season at all. NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said that the league would push back the regular season by “roughly a week” and the NBA Finals by a week.
The original schedule has the season ending on April 18, so a revised schedule would mean the season ends around April 25. Each team would have 132 days to squeeze in 72 games, which NBA.com’s John Schuhmann explains is actually less appealing than the 50-games-in-90-days that teams had to play in the lockout-shortened season in 1999 (if the league still plans to have a four-day all-star weekend in Orlando).
Teams would be forced to play 3.94 games per week, which is slightly more than the 3.89 games they had to fit in 1999, when the All-Star Game was canceled.
An 82-game schedule is usually completed in 166 days – or 3.46 games per week – and has each team playing four games against division foes, three or four games against the other 10 teams in the conference and 30 games against the opposing conference. A 72-game schedule would mean three games against the 14 teams in the conference and 30 games against the other conference.
There will assuredly be plenty of back-to-backs and some back-to-back-to-back games for each team, especially because the league would have to work according to the availability of the arenas. But the offer of a 72-game schedule is clearly in place to help the players and owners recoup some of the revenue from games that have already been lost because of the 134-day lockout.
With the league wiping out the first month of the regular season, the Wizards were set to lose 14 games, with the players to miss out on about $7.42 million.
The National Basketball Players’ Association likely has until Wednesday to accept the offer, because Commissioner David Stern said it would take at least a month for the league to get the deal drawn up and approved by the board of the governors, conduct free agency, hold training camps and have a mini-preseason.