SALT LAKE CITY — The NBA season was supposed to start tonight.
You wouldn't know that if you went to the Utah Jazz website, where it shows that the 2011-12 season-opener is on Dec. 2 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Heck, you wouldn't even know a new basketball year was supposed to tip off tonight if you went to EnergySolutions Arena where a Nov. 1 game was planned to be played.
Save your time.
Nobody from the Jazz or Houston Rockets will be there. Referees might show up just to blow their whistles. The Jazz Bear might even blow confetti at passing cars for fun. Media might show up to get a no comment from nobody there.
But ushers, concessionaires and ticket-scalpers trying to earn a few extra bucks as a part-time job will be absent.
The place will be approximately 19,911 fans under capacity.
Because of the ongoing lockout, the arena will be as empty as this time of year, this city and these sports pages feel without a functioning National Basketball Association.
That empty feeling will permeate the premises and sports landscape until NBA owners and players — who've already botched away November's games — compromise and create a new collective bargaining agreement.
Of course, that might happen — and this might sound absurd — IF the two sides actually stayed in the same room together long enough to work out a new labor deal.
But since they haven't met since talks blew up (again) on Friday, we turned our calendars this morning to yet another basketball-free month.
Thanks for nothing, NBA.
Instead of previewing what could be in store for Tyrone Corbin's first season as head coach, we're all left waiting to see how a $4 billion pie is split while pontificating about luxury tax and revenue sharing and wondering what player's contract Jazz CEO Greg Miller might choose to chop with a potential amnesty option.
Instead of the excitement and hope that accompany the beginning of a season, frustrated fans can only cross their fingers that David Stern and Billy Hunter will hold a joint press conference to announce labor peace has been accomplished.
Instead of seeing how Mehmet Okur looks after his injury-hampered 2010-11 season, we're left to read about his play in Turkey against Deron Williams on the Internet.
Instead of rooting for or against Andrei Kirilenko (a mixed reaction regardless of what NBA team he ends up on), fans on this side of the globe are left to hear second- and third-hand that he's tearing it up in Russia with CSKA.
Instead of watching No. 12 draft pick Alec Burks kick off his NBA career, Jazz fans are left wondering what to make of his recent Twitter posts, including "Triple N" and "Outta outta outta."
Instead of watching No. 3 pick Enes Kanter bang around the paint for the first time in his pro career, Jazz fans are left wondering whether they should drop between $30-$60 to watch him play a rapidly organized exhibition with future Utah teammates and Jimmer Fredette at SLCC next Monday.
Instead of seeing if Gordon Hayward will pick up where he left off last season — ask Kobe Bryant for a reminder — his Twitter fans get to see him in a Jabbawockeez costume rather than a Jazz uniform.
Instead of dancing on the court in front of a packed house, Jazz Dancers are reportedly making plans to teach dance classes to season-ticket holders (according to CNBC reporter Darren Rovell).
Instead of getting to watch the Rockets and Jazz square off on ROOT Sports, TV viewers will be offered a riveting replay of last Saturday's Pac-12 showdown between Arizona State and Colorado. (Just to spoil something else on this spoiled night, the Sun Devils crushed the Buffaloes, 48-14.)
Because of an NBA mandate, the Jazz website also continues to be void of anything particularly useful pertaining to the current crop of players.
Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Devin Harris who?
You won't find features on the best players under contract with the Jazz, but you can read a piece about the franchise's top 10 bench players.
Then again, this might be good news for fans of the Milk Man, two Bigs (Dawg and T), the Brown Bear and a pro-player-turned-broadcaster who used to play football.
Browsing a non-fully functioning team website raises this question: If a "Jazz Bear in the Woods" video was featured on utahjazz.com, would anybody watch and find out if it made a sound?
Unfortunately, its volume can be cranked up much louder than the noise from nothing happening tonight in EnergySolutions Arena.
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