After another marathon negotiation session that lasted 15 hours, Billy Hunter and David Stern have an agreement in place for the new collective bargaining agreement that would effectively end the lockout and set in motion a 66 game NBA season starting Christmas day.
The agreement was reached in time to salvage the much hyped Christmas Day games, which normally serve as the debut of the NBA’s national televised schedule. The triple header, which David Stern made reference to in a press conference early this morning include the Boston Celtics at the New York Knicks; Miami Heat at the Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls at the Los Angeles Lakers.
The full details of the deal should be out later today, as the sides reconvened to talk about a number of B-list issues which include the age limit, rookie salary scale and drug testing.
The most important thing to take away from this announcement is that both sides finally compromised enough to get a deal done, and there will be a season. The players had been making considerable concessions throughout this process however; it took some minor moves by the owners in order to get this deal done.
It has been reported that key areas in which the owners finally conceded include the Mid-level exception, and most evidently their stance on extend-and-trades.
Both the owners and the players still need to vote on the deal, however it is extremely unlikely that either side will vote to veto the current deal. If the deal passes, training camps and free agency will begin December 9th, giving the teams just over two weeks to get their squads ready for the beginning of the regular season.
Providing that the deal passes we will all be in for a very special Christmas gift, finally some NBA games. In the infamous words of Roger Mason: it’s looking like a season, How u.