It's Christmas in November for the NBA. Early Saturday morning, a tentative agreement was reached to end the 149-day NBA lockout.
The league's regular season is expected to begin Dec. 25 with a triple-header that could include the Bulls playing the Lakers in Los Angeles. The 2011-12 campaign would be a truncated, 66-game season.
Team training camps and a shortened free agency would simultaneously ensue Dec. 9. While the deal still needs to be ratified by majorities of both players and owners and secondary issues must still be negotiated, each party is expected to agree to the terms.
The agreement came as a result of back-channel discussions that took place earlier in the week, leading to official talks being held Friday in New York. Former union president Derek Fisher was in attendance and executive-committee member Billy Hunter were in attendance as well as legal representatives for both the players and league. This includes former players' association counsel Jim Quinn, who played a major role in ending the last NBA lockout, in 1999.
Throughout the work stoppage, league commissioner David Stern has stated approximately a month is needed between striking a deal and beginning the season, but apparently that will change and the end of the regular season and playoffs will be pushed back at least a week to account for games that have been missed. While neither Stern or Hunter would comment on the details of the agreement at an early Saturday-morning press conference, it is believed that the two sides agreed to a 50-50 split of basketball-related income, one of the labor dispute's most contentious issues.