Yay, the NBA lockout is almost over. The writing is now on the walls of every Twitter page, signed in black ink by the players themselves on every electronic device known to Man. But do any of the fans care?
A new collective bargaining agreement has been reached in principle, and barring some unforeseen catastrophe all NBA teams will begin play in about one month.
Of course anyone familiar with the NBA this year knows that anything can and will happen and so saying that the season is on is premature.
Even the fans are taking a wait-and-see approach after having their collective heart broken so many times this year.
According to the language being written in stone on message boards throughout the country, the answer is no, they won’t believe it until they see it.
The fans might come around at Christmastime when the season is scheduled to begin, but right now they’re angry. Fuming.
Furious at the players for being so stingy about their unwillingness to cooperate when they‘re making millions upon millions of dollars at a time when millions upon millions can barely put food on the table.
Under the new CBA, players will still reportedly eat at the finest restaurants and still drive flashy cars with big rims, while making 66/82nd of their original salaries.
Fans will still pay out the nose for tickets and 66 games will be played, half at home arenas.
If things in life were fair, perhaps the NBA owners would actually pay fans for the grief it caused everyone waiting for this season to start — or a full year’s worth of season tickets.
Instead season ticket holders will have their expenses prorated, making one think the fans are actually subletting their favorite team.
Of course that would never happen, not in a million years, right?
The good news is that the Jazz aren’t leaving Utah. The new rules regarding luxury tax mean that for most teams (not the Jazz) if you go over the salary cap, you stand to lose more — especially if your name is Mark Cuban.
The new guidelines — which still must be approved by players and owners in the next two weeks — allow small-market teams like Utah to survive, and in fact, thrive.
So what gives with the fans, and why are they so angry if they got what they wanted in the long run — and that’s keeping their beloved Jazz in Utah?
They‘re angry at the owners for letting this façade drag out so long, when all that was really needed was a compromise so that everyone could play ball.
Instead the lockout gobbled up nearly half of the 2011-12 NBA season and with it went the integrity of the players, the owners and the league itself.
Will it ever be repaired? Only the fans know what Energy Solutions Arena will look like on Dec. 26, when the Jazz are first scheduled to play.
All bets are that the arena will not even be close to full when the Jazz play a heretofore invisible opponent the day after Xmas.
It might take a few weeks for the fans to get settled in and want to pay 100 bucks a pop again for tickets and all the necessary accoutrements, but eventually they may come back.
The Jazz do have an exciting, young team and in a shortened season, having a hungry bunch actually helps matters. In sum, the youthful Jazz won’t know any better.
At least that is what the Jazz hope.
The team issued a brief statement on the owners and players reaching a tentative agreement.
“The tentative agreement is great news for our fans, players and our organization,” said Jazz President and Chief Operating Officer Randy Rigby. “We are very hopeful that the NBA will be back on the court on Christmas Day. Our season ticket holders, sponsors, fans and community have shown us great support through this process and we look forward to giving them what they want most, and that is Jazz basketball.”
Whether or not Rigby is right about the fans being supportive is something that Jazz fans themselves will determine, not the team.