The lockout starts in earnest this week

This summer has been a stone cold bummer for NBA fans, all because of the lockout. There has not been the usual offseason moving and/or shaking, leaving us with a set of several months in which "LeBron trips at charity auction" stands as a bloggable story. No one's entirely happy with the NBA landscape, and for good reason. Very little is happening right now.

Yet, for all our boredom, it's important to remember that we haven't reached the really tough part of the lockout. After all, NBA teams don't hold full-team practices or games during the summer, so we've only missed the hot-stove portion of the league calendar. Now that Labor Day has hit, we're nearing the typical start of the NBA season. And that means we're about to miss some major events.

Each September, players return to team's training facilities for voluntary (but really involuntary) workouts. This season, that's not happening. Paul Coro has more for the Arizona Republic (in a piece already highlighted by Kelly Dwyer earlier today):

The NBA lockout has entered its third month, but Tuesday is the day that will look and feel the most different at US Airways Center.

The day after Labor Day usually marks the start of Suns voluntary workouts in earnest. Some players come earlier but most, if not all, are normally in the Valley by early September to use the facilities for workouts and pickup games. This year, players are barred from NBA contact, let alone facilities, due to the lockout and are on their own for workouts.

This moment was predictable and should came as no surprise, but it helps inaugurate a portion of the lockout in which players will miss legitimate basketballular activities. Most Augusts are dull -- Mickael Pietrus's annual search for a new home is not exactly a front-page story. September, though, is a month in which we start to get a sense of how teams will develop before the start of the regular season.

That won't be the case this year. Let this post serve as a reminder that, as tough as the lockout has been already, it's only going to get more annoying. The normal flow of our basketball calendar is about to be thrown into terrible flux.

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