Tramel: The NBA's Dec. 22 start comes with some repercussions
The NBA season finally has a start date. Dec. 22.
I can wait.
I didn’t forget the word “hardly.” Literally, I can wait.
I won’t be itching for TNT’s opening doubleheader or the Thunder’s first game or the home opener downtown.
I need a little time. Last season just ended. Oct. 11. Less than a month ago. The NBA Draft is next week. Free agency hasn’t arrived. Camp opens in like three weeks.
We don’t know who will play where. We don’t know who’s going to be on the Thunder roster. The Thunder doesn’t even have a coach.
I assume Sam Presti soon will hire a Will Weaver or a Will Weaver clone, maybe in a day or two, but does anyone even care?
A malaise has settled over Big Blue.
Will fans even be allowed in the ‘Peake? Will 4,500 at home games be exciting or depressing?
Will Chris Paul be a Milwaukee Buck? Will the Thunder even be trying to win?
Hard to get fired up about a season that offers so much uncertainty and so little promise.
Maybe that will change. Maybe when the season starts, CP3 doesn’t get traded and wills the Thunder into contention and Proud City erupts again.
Doesn’t seem likely, though. Billy Donovan’s decision to coach the Chicago Bulls was a telling sign that the arrow is headed down on the Thunder.
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The calendar has been condensed. The NBA always begins in football season, but it never ended in football season. Until now. The same football season.
The Masters is this week. The Bedlam rivals are off. Good luck juggling your remote control Saturday and Sunday, between Augusta and Ann Arbor, Amen Corner and Lambeau Field.
Back in the spring and summer, when we had no sports, an overloaded calendar seemed like the Promised Land. Turns out, there’s a reason for the seasons. The rhythm of a sports schedule mostly gives us all we can stand. You can fill up quickly on milk and honey.
I understand the financial reasons for starting by Christmas. The NBA’s networks want to finish before the Olympics, which squash all other television enterprises.
Of course, who knows if the Tokyo Games will even be staged? If the Olympics are canceled, the NBA Finals in August would be one cool deal.
The December start, with a 72-game schedule, will produce a diminished league. You thought load management was a pain in the butt? Wait until the league produces a schedule with even fewer days off. Not only stars regularly will sit out games. Asteroids, comets and moons will get worn down.
If your team is down, there’s always been solace in knowing LeBron or James Harden or Kawhi will be playing in your local gymnasium.
There is talk of expanding the playoffs. The regular season will mean less than ever.
But even beyond the sports overload, this Thunder season could be a dud. We don’t know dud. We’ve never done dud.
The Hornet years were a honeymoon, the Thunder’s maiden season was a celebration, then the Kevin Durant/Russell Westbrook phenomenon made OKC a basketball hotbed.
Will we respond well to being a coldbed? Probably not. Few markets do.
Oh well. There’s always a silver lining. If this Thunder squad is a bummer, maybe starting the season earlier means it finishes earlier.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at 405-760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at oklahoman.com/berrytramel.