This morning, NBA owners and players reached a tentative agreement, ending the 149-day lockout. The season will include 66 games beginning on December 25th with training camp and the free agency period beginning December 9th. Both sides met earlier in the week and then decided to have another meeting on Friday, which lasted for 15 hours. The new agreement would allow players to receive between a 49-51 BRI. If there are no significant schedule changes, fans will be able to see a thrilling triple-header on Christmas Day/Opening Day. The 2011-2012 season will open with the Boston Celtics playing the New York Knicks in New York, then the Miami Heat returning to Dallas to play the reigning NBA champions Dallas Mavericks, and then, lastly, the Bulls will play the Lakers at Staples Center.
Before this deal can become official, both the owners and players need to ratify this deal. The owners of 15 of 29 teams (the NBA owns the New Orleans Hornets, which would be the 30th team) need to approve the deal. For the players, the union needs a majority out of the 430-plus members to approve the deal. This becomes a little tricky, since the players dissolved the union on November 14th. The players will need to re-form the union and drop the anti-trust lawsuit against the owners before the agreement can be voted upon. A lot has to be done before a vote can be taken, but hopefully this will all be done within a timely manner.
Many players showed their excitement about the end of the lockout today on Twitter. Anthony Tolliver, who has been quite active in the lockout negotiations, tweeted, “Shoutout to the haters that kept tryna convince us to take a bad deal lol…this is not a GREAT deal but good enough to play. #iSTILLloveya.” Lebron James tweeted, “Man I just got up not to long ago and see we have a deal! I feel like my kids on X-mas day! So juiced!! Excited for the fans that stayed patient with us! #NBAlove.” David Lee tweeted, “GREAT TO BE BACK!!! Thanks to all the fans that were patient! Can’t wait to get back to the Bay and continue my preparations! #greatday.” It seems as if the majority of the players’ union will vote for the new agreement just so they can play basketball again. It would be in the owners’ and players’ best interest to vote as soon as possible and get the season started immediately. This lockout has gone on long enough, and it’s time for it to finally end.