DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It appears the wait is over for North Texas basketball fans: NBA owners and players struck a tentative labor agreement early Saturday following a 149-day lockout.
“Everybody wants to watch the NBA,” fan Jordan Wallace said. “Everybody has been kind of stuck watching other sports.”
Fans who have ached for excitement on the hardwood are now preparing for a potential season for the first time since the league’s collective-bargaining agreement expired on July 1.
If all goes to plan, the Dallas Mavericks will be presented with their NBA Championship rings on Christmas day against the very team they defeated in six games in the NBA Finals: The Miami Heat.
“It’s good to have basketball back. We’ll see the [Mavericks] get their rings. I’m a Mavs fan so I’m pretty excited about it,” Emmanuel Mwakitwile said.
“We’re all ready,” fan Daniele Colon concurred.
The stalemate between the owners and players seemed like it would doom the season. Now that the biggest pieces of contention appear to be settled, ratification of the agreement awaits more ancillary features like drug testing, age limits and how to use the Development League. The owners and the players must also scratch two pending lawsuits and the players will need to restructure their union, as well.
News of the agreement has some saying it’s about time: Once the deal is in the books, the lockout will go down as the second longest in the history of the National Basketball Association.
“I think in general it’s good – everybody’s fighting over their contracts. I think the owners are greedy, I think the players are greedy. I think they should just play ball, everyone’s been waiting on them all year,” fan Stephenie McCoy said.
“I’m happy, you know, there’s a lot of fighting going on in the NBA – battling back and forth. So, I think it’ll be a pretty good situation for both sides,” Wallace said.
The mere possibility of another NBA season not only excites the fans, but businesses as well. They know basketball brings big bucks to North Texas. During the lockout, food venders, ticket takers, and other staff at stadiums across the nation didn’t have a workday to show up to.
Bars and restaurants, especially those near the American Airlines Center, reported seeing major drop-offs in business compared to this time in past years.
“Last year, the NBA season brought a lot of business, especially the playoffs, and because the Mavericks did win, obviously, business was awesome,” Boomer Jacks manager Brinnon Seiler said. “So, it’s great news to know there’s going to be another NBA season.”
Once the dust is settled, training camp will open on Dec. 6 and the season will start just under three weeks later, CBS Sports reported. The potential Christmas day season opener will be a triple header, beginning with The New York Knicks hosting the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden.
That will be followed by the aforementioned NBA Finals rematch between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat. For the final game, the Chicago Bulls will travel to Los Angeles to play the Lakers at the Staples Center.
“Either way, the Mavs are going to win,” fan Wallace said. “They’ve had a break, they don’t have as many games on the road. With a 66 game season – I think they’re going to take it.”