NBA fans got some good news over the holiday weekend, when news surfaced that players and owners have reached a tentative agreement early Saturday (November 26) … ending the 149-day lockout with hopes of beginning the delayed 2011-2012 season on Christmas Day.
According to ESPN, neither side has provided specifics about the deal. Regardless, it’s music to fans’ ears.
“We want to play basketball,” NBA commissioner David Stern said, reports the network.
The agreement came following a 15-hour secret meeting on Friday (November 25). At the moment, it’s strictly a handshake deal, and still must be ratified by both owners and players.
Stern said it was “subject to a variety of approvals and very complex machinations, but we’re optimistic that will all come to pass and that the NBA season will begin Dec. 25,” reports ESPN.
So, as the current schedule stands, the 2011-12 season would kick off with the Boston Celtics at New York Knicks, followed by Miami at Dallas in an NBA Finals rematch, before MVP Derrick Rose and Chicago close the tripleheader against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
The league plans a 66-game season and aims to open training camps December 9.
Stern says it would take about 30 days from an agreement to playing the first game.
For the deal to go through, a majority vote will need to come from each side. The NBA needs votes from 15 of 29 owners — they own New Orleans Hornets.
The player’s union needs a simple majority of its 430-plus members. However, things have gotten a little complicated after the players dissolved the union November 14. Now, they must drop their antitrust lawsuit in Minnesota and re-form the union before voting on the deal.
In a memo to union members Saturday night, obtained by ESPN.com, NBA Players Association executive director Billy Hunter told players that they will receive a 51.2 percent share of Basketball Related Income in the 2011-12 season.
Other specifics are reported by ESPN.com here.
Owners locked out the players on July 1, and the sides spent most of the summer and fall battling over several points — includes the division of revenues and other changes owners wanted in a new collective bargaining agreement.
They said they lost hundreds of millions of dollars in each year of the former deal, ratified in 2005, and they wanted a system where the big-market teams wouldn’t have the ability to outspend their smaller counterparts.
The last lockout led a shortened 1998-99 season of 50 games. This time the league will miss 16 games off the normal schedule.