Opening schedule grows
The NBA yesterday added two games to its Christmas Day lineup, boosting the season-opening schedule to five games.
At 8 p.m., the Magic will play the Thunder in Oklahoma City. After that, the Clippers and Warriors will be televised from Oakland, Calif. The early games feature the Celtics and Knicks at noon, the Heat and Mavericks at 2:30, and the Bulls and Lakers at 5.
TNT will air the opener, with the next two games on ABC and the final two contests on ESPN.
The NBA will release its full, revised 66-game schedule Tuesday night during an NBA TV special.
The Dec. 25 opening date is contingent on the new collective bargaining agreement being ratified next week. Lawyers for the league and players’ association resumed negotiations yesterday on the remaining issues, such as drug testing, the draft eligibility age, and the commissioner’s power to discipline. The goal is to complete the agreement Tuesday so it could be presented at a meeting of player representatives Wednesday, then both sides would vote to ratify it Thursday.
If that happens, training camps and free agency would open next Friday.
Paul sitting tight
According to ESPN.com, a source close to Hornets guard Chris Paul said “he has not asked for a trade to the Knicks because he knows the Knicks don’t have anything to offer.’’ It’s been rumored that Paul has told Hornets management that he wants to be traded to New York, but general manager Dell Demps can’t speak with the four-time All-Star until the lockout is officially over . . . Derek Fisher, the players’ union president, is out of his suits and back in shorts after the league’s brutal labor negotiations, focusing on another season with the Lakers. “I’m grateful for the experience, but hopefully next week we’ll be back to basketball,’’ Fisher said. “It was an exhausting ordeal, but I’m still in a good space.’’ Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak admires Fisher’s tenacity with the union. “I’m not sure many past players’ association presidents have gone through what he’s been through,’’ Kupchak said . . . The Nets and Knicks will play each other twice in their only preseason games, Dec. 17 and 21.