NBA teams will have to squeeze 66 games into 4 months

Sixers coach Doug Collins has been in town and is already planning for the Dec. 9 start of camp and free agency.
Sixers coach Doug Collins has been in town and is already planning for the Dec. 9 start of camp and free agency. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer)
Posted: November 28, 2011

The 76ers have yet to receive their revised 2011-12 schedule from the NBA.

It's unclear whether the league will wait until the "tentative settlement agreement" reached Saturday morning is ratified into the next collective-bargaining agreement before releasing each team's reconfigured 66-game schedule. But as of Sunday night, the Sixers had only one date to focus on: the Dec. 9 opening of training camp and free agency.

The process of moving the tentative agreement forward will be jump-started on Monday. The two sides must still hash out the outstanding B-list issues: age limit, drug testing, and configuration of the D-League, to name a few.

The league's 450 players must then re-form their union, the National Basketball Players Association. Once details of the deal are finalized, it must pass a majority vote of both the NBPA and the NBA's Board of Governors, a collection of the league's 30 owners.

Although there are still small hurdles both sides must clear, the current "tentative settlement" is expected to become the league's next CBA.

"We are very pleased that we have come this far," said NBA commissioner David Stern. "There is a lot of work to be done in a lot of places, with a lot of committees and player groups and the like, but we are optimistic that it will hold and we will have ourselves an NBA season."

The NBA is expected to launch with a triple-header on Christmas Day.

The Sixers are expected to open on the road, possibly the West Coast, and likely on Dec. 26. Although specific opponents and dates are still unknown, the New York Times reported specific details of how each team's 66-game schedule would look. The league's 2011-12 regular season will run from Dec. 25 to April 26. In order to fit 66 games in four months, each team will play approximately two extra games a month. Each team will play at least one back-to-back-to-back (three games in three nights) and possibly as many as three back-to-back-to-backs.

Each team will play 48 conference games and 18 out-of-conference games, which means that the Sixers will not play every NBA team during the abbreviated season.

In addition, the NBA playoffs will include back-to-back games - something that would never happen during a full season - to compress the schedule even further.

The Sixers are hopeful further details of the 2011-12 schedule will emerge as early as Monday.

Sixers coach Doug Collins has been in Philly for an extended time, preparing for basketball even when the labor dispute was seriously threatening the season. The rest of the coaching staff is reporting on Monday, and the coaches will begin outlining what needs to be done between now and opening day.

The Sixers' training camp, which is usually held at St. Joseph's University, will be held at the team's practice facility at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Your vote. On his Twitter account, Sixers CEO Adam Aron announced that the team's new ownership group would allow the fans the opportunity to vote on the design of the Sixers' next mascot.

"Drumroll, please," Aron wrote on his Twitter page. "Decision @Sixers fans have requested. #SIXERSMASCOT will be chosen by fan vote, from choice of three. In next few weeks."


Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at kfagan@phillynews.com. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/DeepSixer3, and read her blog, Deep Sixer, on Philly.com.

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