Downtown Mpls. businesses welcome shortened Timberwolves seasonby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A tentative deal reached by the NBA and players to end a more than four-month lockout has downtown Minneapolis businesses scurrying to prepare for an abbreviated season.
Early Saturday morning, NBA owners and players made a "handshake agreement" on a new labor deal. That could mean the Minnesota Timberwolves play at the Target Center just after Christmas. If the proposed deal is ratified, the league will play 66 games instead of the usual 82.
David Klarich of Hubert's Sports Bar and Grill at the Target Center said the restaurant is preparing for more customers than usual.
"I think that we are going to see an increased number of clients simply because our team's finally had some buzz around it," he said. "I'm sure that some fans were turned off by the lockout, but I think it'll be offset by the excitement that the Timberwolves are bringing to the table."
One major draw for the team this season will be the debut of Spaniard Ricky Rubio. He's expected to take to the court in a Timberwolves uniform for the first time after the team selected him during the first round of the 2009 draft.
Klarich said the restaurant will probably hire more staff to deal with the rush.
"That's a lot of games put into a four-to-five-month span and [the] Twins season is right behind that, so it's kind of a nonstop move now."