x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Don't count on next NBA season starting on time

The season beginning on time would require the players and owners to come together and work out a new labour agreement in next couple of months. And history says, do not count on it.

Was that not just too much fun? A thrill-packed, new superstars melodrama in Miami, the collapse of the Los Angeles Lakers, a first championship for the Dallas Mavericks.

Would you like to do it all over again? The chances are not good.

Because to be exciting, the NBA season would have to start on time. And right now, there is a good possibility that will not happen.

That would require the players and owners getting together in the next couple of months and working out a new labour agreement. And history says, do not count on it.

The union that represents the players has been in discussions for months with the owners over a new agreement. Progress has come slowly and begrudgingly, if at all.

At the root of all discussions, of course, is money. It always is in these things.

Which is why during 1998 negotiations when the sides failed to come together, the players were locked out and an agreement was not reached until January - by which time the 82-game regular season was reduced to 50 games.

The season was a mess. You would like to think lessons have been learnt, and maybe they have, but you have every right to feel nervous.

The NBA wants a hard salary cap on teams, which would kill the wiggle room it currently allows teams, particularly when re-signing their own players.

Players are digging in. Alas, the start of the season is not.