November 26, 2011
After a lockout that lasted for 5 months, the Charlotte Bobcats and the rest of the NBA have reached an agreement to begin the NBA season in late December.
Over the weekend, players and owners reached a tentative agreement on a new, 10-year labor agreement, with the regular season tipping off Christmas Day. Most teams, including the Bobcats, will likely begin play a day or two later, with the opening-day games reserved for marquee franchises such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and the defending champion Dallas Mavericks.
The league is reworking the entire schedule. Instead of 82 games, teams will play 66 games, a concession to losing the first two months of play. More back-to-back games and a delayed start to the playoffs will allow the league to make up for some of the time lost to the lockout.
In a letter sent to fans this weekend, Bobcats president Fred Whitfield wrote, “We are grateful for your patience and support during during this process, and we are excited to be getting back to work on bringing world-class basketball to our fans at Time Warner Cable Arena .”
Charlotte owner Michael Jordan was among a group of hard-line owners who pushed for even greater concessions from the players union. The new agreement reduces the amount of basketball-related income players receive to a range of 49 percent to 51 percent, compared with 57 percent in the previous contract.
The Bobcats posted financial losses in the $20 million range, according to the most recent estimates by Forbes magazine.