Our Saturday started off as perfectly as possible with news greeting us as our alarm clocks rang that a tentative labor agreement had been reached, and that the lockout was finally, if unofficially, over. For now, we can’t completely invest ourselves in a new season – scheduled to be 66 games, starting on Christmas day – but pretty much everyone agrees on one thing: this deal will get approved and will get done. Book it. So who won and who lost? With the cancellation of games, everyone loses: the fans, the owners and the players. But as far as the approved deal, many of the leading names on both sides came out of this looking as good as they could’ve under the current circumstances. David Stern saves face. Billy Hunter possibly saves his job. Derek Fisher didn’t save anything, but looked every bit the leader the players needed, and we’re assuming this experience will help him down the road in whatever new challenge he takes on. The stars of the 2012 free agent class – Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Dwight Howard – are big winners after the owners dropped their insistence on the Carmelo Anthony rule, which would’ve restricted flexibility in sign-n-trades. Those big names might not bounce from Orlando, Brooklyn and New Orleans, but their options are wider now. But teams above the luxury tax, like the Lakers, won’t be able to spend as they did in the past. While we don’t yet know certain details such as revenue sharing and what will happen with the age limit (although most believe it’ll stay the same), the fact that they pulled this out at the last minute leaves mostly everyone feeling pretty excited … Does anyone think this lockout will have a big effect on the game’s popularity? It took forever to come back after the 50-game season in 1998-99, but much of that probably had to do with a certain player retiring. The NFL came right back this season because people love the NFL. The NBA has fans who love it, but they also have an unhealthy number of people who seem to go out of their way to hate on it … What does the end of the lockout really mean: no more no-defense charity games. At first they were awesome. The original “Capital Punishment” game was epic. But by the start of fall, everything was dropping off. We were kinda tired of talking about them simply because we knew nearly every basketball fan was sick of hearing about them. The Obama game may still happen, but we are hearing without current NBA players. What does that mean? Just run Democrats vs. Republicans and hope they beat each other up … Now we can start speculating, as Jeff Van Gundy has, about next season. JVG thinks the Knicks are only one big piece away from contending for a championship. One more elite player, and they’ll be right there with the Heat. Van Gundy told ESPN New York that the Knicks have the base to build off of this season and that they could easily be a top four team in the East. He also doesn’t think enough credit is being given to the job Donnie Walsh did while he was there in getting Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. In an age of big threes, getting two superstars in their prime is starting to sound easy, when it reality it’s so difficult. The Knicks can win with those two – despite their defensive problems. They just have to surround them with some role players who do everything those guys don’t. Or, if you want to believe Van Gundy, they just need another star … Hit page two for two big names the Lakers may go after and some unreal college/high school facials…
Smack / Nov 27, 2011 / 12:45 am
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