The NBA might sacrifice a preseason in order to save training camps

Kelly Dwyer
September 8, 2011

Recently we lamented the possible loss of the NBA's preseason, calling it a necessary team-building exercise (like for Steve Nash, taking a 2010 preseason game against Washington very seriously in the picture above) that both satisfied the needs of hoop junkies in mid-October, and brings needed revenue to wherever the exhibition games are held. Teams do play most of their preseason games in NBA arenas, but a goodly chunk are also spaced across areas in North America that usually don't get to see live NBA action. Those areas rarely get to see any major league sports, if we're honest.

With the surprising turnaround and refreshing urgency behind the latest wave of lockout negotiations, though, the news that the NBA might give up on most of its preseason in order to host proper training camps doesn't seem as worrisome.

Here's Sean Deveney from the Sporting News with a thought:

Stern pointed out on Wednesday that, to save the season, "We have three weeks." Training camp is supposed to start in less than a month. When the NFL was in a lockout, there was an emphasis on saving training camp, but according to a league source, that's not necessarily as important for the NBA. First of all, pro football is a lot more complicated to coach and requires more thorough conditioning. Second, the source said, "Financially, the NFL makes a killing off the preseason. The NBA doesn't. We play in some pretty far-off spots. And our preseason games aren't televised much."

Of course the NFL makes a killing on those miserable preseason games. What don't they make a killing on?

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Giddy with the potential for wrapping this lockout up (the NBA and its players are set to meet again on Thursday after a reportedly productive meeting on Wednesday), the thought of losing out on a Timberwolves/Wizards game in Iowa isn't as striking. In fact, it feels almost like a necessary sacrifice.

After all, why not give up on games few (even with League Pass) even watch in order to replace those travel days and hours spent in a hotel room with more sprinting and potential for practice development? Seems like a fair trade off, especially if a good chunk of these players ate and acted during the summer months like there wouldn't be a season this year.

There are artificial deadlines in place, which is always a good thing. NBA media day is typically scheduled for the first weekday in October, and fringe players (even with opt-out clauses in hand) will begin to jet off to hook up with the international teams they've signed with in the offseason. Both sides actually seemed somewhat determined to avoid those deadlines, and things might be rolling, in a good way.

Fingers crossed for no cross words in the Thursday meeting. Even if it means saying goodbye to most or all of the NBA's preseason.