Step off the ledge, Blazers fan. The evil suits at the NBA's corporate office and the (slightly less) evil Players Association have come to terms on a tentative agreement that will end the ridiculous five-month old lockout that has robbed us all of professional basketball. Like the greatest gift ever to emerge from Santy Clause's velvet sack, the NBA's 2011-12 season will begin on Christmas Day.
Details of the agreement are still up in the air, and since it's merely a handshake deal, things might fall through once again. But let's just pretend everything is cool on both sides. If that's the case, December 9 will mark the beginning of training camp and the season will be limited to a compact 66 games. That December 9 date will also signal the start of free agency, so if the Portland Trail Blazers want to pull the trigger on signing both Kyrylo Fesenko and Vladimir Radmanovic, that's the date it'll go down.
With this Earl Boykins-sized season on the horizon, the Portland Trail Blazers are left with little time to solve their bevy of unanswered questions: What the holy hell is going on with Greg Oden? Will there be an amensty clause, and if so, will the team cut ties with the wounded limbs of Brandon Roy? How will the Blazers play with 3/5 of their starting lineup on the verge of free agency? Will Nolan Smith actually make a difference, or will we all be cursing the team for passing on Kenneth Faried on draft day? Will the team ever hire a GM? Will Patty Mills speak fluent mandarin after briefly suiting up for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers?
Whatever. It's basketball and it's coming back. Finally, a reason to celebrate on December 25.