With labour uncertainty, NBA unveils schedule
By SPORTS NETWORK
|If the NBA and its players come to a labour agreement, the league would tip off Nov. 1. (QMI Agency/Craig Robertson)
NEW YORK -- Despite the prospect of a potentially lengthy labour dispute, the NBA has released its schedule for the 2011-12 season.
The league's release on Tuesday even mentioned the work stoppage in its first paragraph, indicating that the schedule would be in effect "in the event that the NBA is able to reach a new collective bargaining agreement with the NBPA in a timely fashion."
There have been no talks since the league locked out its players when the CBA expired on June 30.
Should the two sides come to an accord, the league will tip off its 66th season on Tuesday, Nov. 1 with a doubleheader.
The opener will feature the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks hosting the Chicago Bulls, who won a league-best 62 games last season. The Mavericks will receive their championship rings prior to the contest.
In the nightcap of the twinbill, Oklahoma City will visit the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Toronto Raptors open their season at home Nov. 2 against the Philadelphia 76ers, then face the Cavaliers in Cleveland two days later.
Dallas beat Miami for the NBA crown this past spring and the two will renew hostilities on Christmas Day in Texas. The Mavericks will visit Miami on March 29.
The All-Star Game will take place on Feb. 26 in Orlando and will be broadcast by TNT. The network will air 52 regular-season games in its 28th year of NBA coverage.
ESPN will televise 75 regular-season games, while ABC will start its national television schedule on Christmas Day. ABC will also be the exclusive home for the NBA Finals in June.
If the labour issue lingers, the league could be forced into a shortened schedule or even the cancellation of the entire season. The last labour strife in 1998-99 produced a 50-game season.