Well, they've already missed about a month of regular season action do to on-going discussions regarding the new CBA, but things finally took a turn for the best over the weekend. As soon as the new deal is ratified, which should happen any day now, the National Basketball Association will be back in business.
Now, don't expect to see free agents signing anywhere once the CBA has been ratified, as free agency wont start until December 9th. However, do expect teams and players to start discussions immediately, and deals to be unofficially announced even before that date. Speaking of free agency, this class isn't necessarily stocked with premium talent and has nowhere near the star power it did in summer 2010, but there are still a few nice players on this market that could come in and help a team like the Warriors. I've been thinking that the W's best chance to upgrade their roster would be via trade, but the one spot where the Warriors are weak happens to be the most stocked position on the free agent market, center. Andris Biedrins is currently the starter and is making over $10M this season, but has really had a rough couple of seasons since Barron Davis left the Bay Area. I'm not sure the Warriors are confident in starting the season with the thought of giving Biedrins huge minutes at center. They could deal him, or cut his work load way back, but it shouldn't keep them for exploring ways to improve themselves. The two guys I'd like to see them at least inquire about are Nene Hilario and Mark Gasol. Nene would bring the type of defense that Biedrins has failed at while Gasol would bring consistency, athleticism and scoring to the front-court. Nene is unrestricted, so would be an easier target, yet he's the consensus #1 free agent out there, so he could be tough to snag.
Now, as far as the details in the new Labor Agreement, I'm not going to go through each thing and ramble about it here, although here is a list of the changes to the new agreement. The only thing that jumped out at me when glancing over the new agreement is that the league will still be able to squeeze a 66-game schedule out of this by having teams play on back-to-back-to-back nights on numerous occasions throughout the season. Tip for Warriors head coach Mark Jackson, get your team in shape and keep youngsters for that bench because those 3 consecutive game nights will drain a team. Luckily for the Warriors, their average age in their starting lineup is 25, so it could be an advantage for them especially if Jackson has them running offensively. We don't know yet exactly when the tip-off for the regular season will be, as the new CBA has yet to be ratified, but NBA officials have stated they're shooting to be open before Christmas, which is their biggest non-playoff night of the year as far as television ratings. David Stern is way too greedy to let that cash cow slip by him, so I fully expect the NBA to be in regular season mode by the end of December. The real question is, how long is it going to take teams to start playing their brand of basketball after such a long layoff and virtually no training camp? Time will tell, but it's certainly great to have the NBA back... Fantasy Draft Time!