The 2011–12 NBA season, the 66th season of the National Basketball Association(NBA), began with the signing of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the owners of the 30 NBA teams and the NBA's players. The previous CBA, which was ratified in 2005, expired at 12:01 AM EDT on July 1, 2011, resulting in a lockout. With the new deal in place, the regular season was shortened from the normal 82 games per team to 66, because of the nearly two months of inactivity. The season began on December 25, 2011, and ends on April 26, 2012.
The lockout was the fourth work stoppage in the history of the NBA. It began at 4:01 UTC (12:01 am EDT) on July 1, 2011. The main issues dividing the owners and the players were revenue sharing and the structure of the salary cap. During the lockout, teams could not trade, sign or contact players and players couldn't access NBA team facilities, trainers, or staff members. All preseason games (scheduled to begin October 9) and the first six weeks of the regular season (scheduled to begin November 1, through December 15) were canceled. Some players signed contracts to play in other countries, and most had the option to return to the NBA as soon as the lockout ended.
On November 26, 2011, after 15 hours of talks, a tentative deal was reached; once officially ratified, the NBA will start a revised 2011–12 season. Owners allowed players to have voluntary workouts at team sites starting December 1.
On December 8, 2011, the lockout ended when the owners and players ratified a new CBA agreement.
A revised 66-game regular season began on December 25, 2011, with five Christmas Day games, two more than the original schedule.The league built a new schedule from scratch based on available arena dates. In October, the league allowed arenas in Los Angeles andChicago to reassign NBA dates for other events. The number of games between conferences is affected as was the case in the 1999 lockout, when each team played only five or six interconference games in a 50-game schedule. Normally, each team plays teams in the other conference twice each. Teams will play 48 conference games and 18 non-conference games in a 66-game schedule, compared to 52 conference games and 30 non-conference games in a normal 82-game season. Teams will play on average two more games per month and also be required to play three-consecutive games at least once in the season. In total, the league will have 42 sets of back-to-back-to-back games. The three-game set, or "triple", has not occurred since the shortened 1999 season, which featured 64 triples and sloppier play due to tired players. Before that, the last occurrence was two decades earlier.
On December 8, 2011, the New Orleans Hornets, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets agreed to a trade that would sendChris Paul to Los Angeles. NBA commissioner David Stern nullified the trade, saying the Hornets were better off keeping Paul than accepting the terms of the deal. The league had acquired the Hornets from former owner George Shinn, and the commissioner's office has final authority over all management decisions. Several of the other owners, who co-own the Hornets, also opposed the deal.Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert felt that the Lakers were acquiring the best player in the deal, Paul, and reducing their salary to possibly acquire Dwight Howard. Owners believed the trade would have sent a bad message coming out of the lockout, where one goal was to give small-market teams a chance to keep their players. Paul had long been speculated to be leaving the Hornets as a free agent after the end of the season. Magic Johnson said the trade denial "sends a bad message to fans", and Dwyane Wade called the situation a "mess". The three teams involved in the trade attempted to lobby the league to reverse its ruling as well as reconstruct the deal that would satisfy the league, only to met by resistance from the league who wants the Hornets to receive more youth and draft picks. Later, the Lakers pulled out of the trade talk. Five days later, Paul was finally traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.