Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011Posted: 12:00 p.m.
CSNChicago.com BullsInsider Follow@CSNBullsInsider
In the grand scheme of things, it might not seem like much. But the NBA's announcement that the start of training camps and opening slate of exhibition games are the latest casualties of the ongoing lockout should cement the reality of the increasingly dire situation.
We have regretfully reached the point on the calendar where we are not able to open training camps on time and need to cancel the first week of preseason games, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.
Unspoken was that after a nearly six-hour Thursday bargaining session in New York during which, by all accounts. no progress was made, pessimism reigns supreme in the lockout talks.
NBA players continue to trickle overseas, player-organized exhibition games continue to be held and plans for "lockout leagues" now move into October. If and when the work stoppage ends this fall, the legal process will take a few weeks to officially get the ball rolling again, leading to a likely abbreviated free-agency period (and the signing of draft picks) before training camps and the exhibition schedule commence.
For the Bulls, it means that an Oct. 10 home game against the Bobcats (yet another opportunity for former draft pick Tyrus Thomas to show Chicago what it's missing) and an Oct. 13 road matchup against the Central Division rival Pacers are scuttled. Bulls training camp at the Berto Center, which was scheduled to open Oct. 4, a key ingredient to the season, have been replaced by more individualized or informal group training, if not players seeking competition elsewhere.
But that's just on paper. If anybody can recall the last NBA lockout--in the 1998-99 season, when the NBA slate was cut to just 50 games--the ramifications of even minimal time lost will be reflected in sloppy play, as teams and players struggle to find their groove.
Coming off a banner year that saw the league's popularity rise with ascendance of young players like reigning MVP Derrick Rose and scoring champion Kevin Durant, it's possible that casual fans will be reluctant to embrace the NBA quickly if there's an extended absence.
How do you feel about the NBA delaying the start of training camps and preseason games? If the lockout causes regular-season games to be missed, will it affect how you feel about the league or are you willing to wait it out?
Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.