Moot point? NBA plans to unveil full 2011-12 schedule

It could just be an exercise in futility, but the NBA — still in the throes of a contentious labor impasse —

When will the Spurs face the defending champion Dallas Mavericks? When will LeBron James and the Miami Heat come to town? When will the Spurs get their first crack at Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers? Who will they face in the season opener, and when and where?

We’ll know the answers soon. But only in theory.

Obviously, the league has to prepare for a full season, which means releasing a full schedule in timely fashion. Still, chances are good most of what is unveiled on Tuesday will be erased by work stoppage.

It’s all tentative at this point.

In a way, the planned nationally televised schedule announcement could be considered cruel and unusual punishment for NBA die-hards: Hey fans, here’s the fun you would have been in for, if only owners and players could get their stuff together.

It’s sort of like showing a kid a picture of Disneyland, then refusing to take him there.

For the Spurs, games against the Eastern Conference might as well come written in pencil. Should the lockout shorten the schedule, which seems to be the consensus expectation, games against the opposite conference will be the first to go.

When the last lockout truncated the 1998-99 season to 50 games, the Spurs only played six against Eastern opponents.

Considering it’s three weeks into the current work stoppage, and the sides have not yet scheduled a formal next meeting, it appears we could be heading that way again this season.

In the meantime, enjoy a 2011-12 schedule that, for now, will exist only in theory.

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