Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

NBA? The waiting is hardest part

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves players, On the road, Vikings draft, Wolves news Updated: November 29, 2011 - 11:17 AM

Are you getting anxious to analyze the Timberwolves' new schedule, to hear David Kahn and Rick Adelman and their plans to balance this roster and improve this season, to see slimmed-down Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams arrive in town to begin workouts.

Patience, my friends, patience.

The NBA has A LOT of work to do to get this thing up and running by Christmas Day.

Maybe even too much.

They're going to be pushing to get everything done just to open training camps and free agency on Dec. 9, and then it's really going to get crazy.

Here's the timeline Billy Hunter laid out for the players in a letter he sent that (you can find it here, courtesy of SI.com's Sam Amick):

* A settlement agreement between owners and players dismissing all lawsuits between each other is expected to be finalized by today.

* The union then will reform and begin negotiating all the "B" -- or non-economic -- issues of a new collective bargaining argreement such as drug-testing, draft eligibility, workplace rules, etc. That will begin no later than Friday.

* And finally, ratification and signing of the new deal, which won't come until next week. It could be as late as Wednesday, only two days before it's all supposed to be start.

And not until then will you probably see that new schedule.

There's also a good chance you won't hear a word from Kahn or Adelman until everybody appears for the traditional "media day" event that kicks off training camp.

And there's still a chance that camp will be held in Mankato -- owner Glen Taylor's hometown -- like usual. (Although media day will be held at Target Center either way).

So until then...

Here's what the schedule generally -- not specifically -- will look like:

* The 66-game season will start with those three Christmas Day games and end April 26, about 10-12 days later than usual. Players start just two days later.

* The league moved the draft back to June 27, so it will be at least one day after the last day the NBA Finals can possibly end.

* Every team will play at least one set and no more than three sets of back-to-back-to-back games, like they did back during the lockout-shortened 50-game season in 1998-99.

* Every team will play 48 conference games and 18 non-conference games.

* WIthin the Western conference, the Wolves will play 6 teams four times each (2 home, 2 away) and the other eight teams three times each. They'll play four of those teams at home twice and on the road once and the other four vice versa).

* The Wolves will play just three Eastern teams twice (1 home, 1 away) and the other 12 just once (6 of them home, 6 away). What do you think the odds are that one or more of those six Eastern teams who won't come to Target Center will be the Heat, Bulls, Celtics, etc?

Probably pretty good.

 

 

 

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