2011 - 2012 NBA Season Starts in Manhattan
After the NBA owners locked out the NBA players, delayed the season, and demanded that the players accept reduced pay, the players and the owners reached a tentative agreement last week that results in reduced pay for players but which is much better for the players than what the NBA owners had been demanding.
The tentative agreement paves the way for teams to start practicing on December 9th and for the first regular season games to occur on December 25th. The season would have 66 games instead of the usual 82.
The Knicks are currently scheduled to play in the first game of the season. They would host the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden.
Perhaps every season should begin at MSG, and perhaps every season should have 66 games. Each game would mean more. Players would be less exhausted and banged up for the playoff, and the greatest city in the world would kick things off. This season could be a great model for a more permanent approach to the NBA scheduling challenges.
Irrespective of what happens in future seasons, the start of the 2011 - 2012 NBA season will help the NYC economy. In September, we discussed the potential economic harm that could be visited upon the NYC metro area by a cancellation of the 2011 - 2012 NBA season. By agreeing to have a 66-game season, the players and the owners will allow our area to avoid the economic losses that a cancelled season would have represented.
A cancellation of the 2011-2012 season carries major risks for our local economy. The travel industry will lose hotel revenue; restaurants will be harmed. Food vendors, sporting goods vendors who sell replica jerseys, and the cable channels that broadcast the games will lose revenues; advertising spending will decline.
It is likely that the Knicks and Nets are teams that are profitable. If they are, a cancelled season also eliminates the profits of two major local businesses.
In these difficult times, a cancelled NBA season is the last thing we need.
Thankfully, our Christmas gifts this year include a Knicks-Celtics showdown in Manhattan.
Madison Square Garden Upgrade
Madison Square Garden is in the midst of a $1 billion upgrade. MSG's owners call it a "transformation".
The upgrade will be complete before the 2012-2013 season (during the summer of 2012, the upgrade will be completed), and the fan experience will be amongst the best in the NBA (the NHL's NY Rangers will also play in Madison Square Garden's upgraded facility; Rangers fans will also have the best-in-class facility to enjoy).
The end of the NBA lockout gives Knicks fans a chance to enjoy the Knicks in the much improved MSG facility starting on December 25, 2011. A double Christmas present: the Knicks and the upgraded MSG. This will be a very special Christmas for Knicks fans, but it might be even more special if the Knicks' team is improved.
Chris Paul and the Future of the Knicks
The Knicks have added Stoudemire and Anthony in recent years, and, in the 2010 - 2011 season, they earned entrance to the post-season for the first time in a decade.
Now, former NBA Rookie of the Year and four time All-Star Chris Paul, who will be a free agent at the end of the upcoming NBA season, is being discussed as a potential addition to the Knicks. If Chris Paul is added, the Knicks will have three bona fide superstars on their roster, and they will be ready to make a run at an NBA Championship.
There is a chance that Paul could join the Knicks before the December 25th opening of the NBA season. That would be a triple Christmas present: The Knicks, the upgraded MSG, and the chance compete for an NBA Championship.