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Bulls To Meet The Mavs On Ring Night To Open NBA 2K11-2K12

The 1998-1999 NBA lockout shortened the season to 50 games and pushed back the league's usual October 31/November 1 regular season start date to February 5, around the time the All-Star rosters usually begin to take shape. With the league staring straight at its scuzziest labor situation since, fans who just witnessed the most invigorated professional basketball season in recent memory are just hoping the season starts on time.

While seemingly no progress has been made in the three weeks since the owners locked out the players, it was refreshing to wake up this morning to concrete, non-labor news. The NBA season will (hopefully) open on November 1, with our valiant Bulls heading to Dallas to play Dirk and the Mavs after they receive their championship rings.

Yes, a November 1 start date may be wishful thinking at this point, but seeing BULLS VS MAVERICKS, NOVEMBER 1 officially on the schedule is enough to get any Chicago hoops head excited. For the Bulls, it's the ultimate sign of respect from the league that they are now firmly planted among the game's elite teams. Leagues loves to begin new seasons with a bang -- look no further than the juicy Saints @ Packers game scheduled to open the upcoming NFL season -- and our Bulls now command enough respect to go up against Dirk and the champs on opening night.

While the full schedule won't be released until Tuesday afternoon, a Finals rematch pitting the Heat and the Mavs is reportedly scheduled for Christmas day.