Annnnnnd, they’re off!
Well, no, actually, they’ve been off. Since late June for the very best of ’em and since the end of April for nearly half of them. The NBA offseason is longest for those who don’t do postseason basketball, shorter for those who make it to the playoffs and stick around for anywhere from one to four rounds and shorter still for those players who followed up the NBA’s tournament with the world’s big bracket at the London Olympics.
For fellows such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Love and the rest of the gold-medal winners – and let’s not neglect the NBA performers from other nations who participated – the offseason of 2012 may feel about a week-and-a-half long, especially after the vast, lockout-extended chasm of 2011. Those guys can expect to feel it starting around January – or at least, to be asked about the fatigue factor.
But today isn’t about down time. Tuckered or not, four teams officially begin (or have begun, depending on when you’re reading this) their 2012 training camps. Media Day is the typical tipoff, with the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and NBA champion Miami Heat holding their first practices tomorrow.
Why those four? They’re headed overseas for NBA exhibition games, so to accommodate the heavier travel time, they’ve been permitted to start early. Boston will play Fenerbahce Ulker in Istanbul, Turkey on Oct. 5 in the first preseason game of 2012-13 and, two days later, face EA& Emporio Armani Milano in Milan, Italy.
Dallas travels to Berlin for its preseason opener Oct. 6 against Alba Berlin, then takes on FC Barcelona Regal on Oct. 9 in Barcelona, Spain. Those four games are being billed as NBA Europe Live 2012, by the way.
The Heat and the Clippers are taking care of the NBA China Games with a clash in Beijing on Oct. 11, followed three days later by a matinee in Shanghai.
The NBA also has a preseason game booked in Mexico (Orlando vs. New Orleans in Mexico City on Oct. 7) and two in Canada beyond the Raptors’ usual schedule (New York-Toronto in Montreal Oct. 19 and Minnesota-Detroit in Winnipeg Oct. 24).
We know what you’re thinking: B-b-b-b-but those six teams will be playing internationally, too. So why aren’t they opening training camps early?! Guess the difference is, passports yes, inflatable vests no – they’re not crossing any big ponds or enough time zones.
So the Magic, Hornets, Knicks, Raptors, Timberwolves and Pistons will start with the 20 other teams: interviews, photos and videos on Monday, the dawn of two-a-days on Tuesday.
In other words, it’s (nearly) on. The wait is almost over. If NFL fans thought it was tough counting the days till the real referees got back to work, they should talk to their NBA counterparts still cooling their heels for another 72 to 96 hours while four clubs tip it off now!
We’ll have early reports on those four today, including a boots-on-the-ground post from Miami from the Proprietor of the HTB Hideout himself, Mr. Sekou Smith.