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NBA Lockout Deal To Save Christmas Would Create 66-Game Season, Says Report

If an NBA lockout deal can be reached this week to preserve the league's traditional Christmas slate, the 2011-12 will include 66 games per team, reports the New York Times' Howard Beck.

NBA commissioner David Stern pitched a 72-game season starting on December 15 if players would accept the owners' proposal a week ago. Instead, players held out over salary cap system issues, dissolved their union and filed anti-trust litigation.

But secret talks were rekindled on Tuesday, according to reports, with the hopes that a deal could save pro basketball in 2011 and also leave the league's ratings bonanza that is Christmas Day in tact. Having a five-game slate on Christmas that doubles as opening day for the league could inject some momentum into the season after the PR disaster that has been the lockout.

This is all still predicated on the two sides being reasonable and making a pact, items that have thus far eluded those involved.