It looks like the NBA lockout is finally coming to an end. The two sides reached a tentative agreement, meeting at noon on Black Friday and talking all the way through 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning, working to hammer out an agreement.
The two sides will now start working on how to schedule the rest of the 2011-12 season. The new agreement should allow the NBA to run a 66-game season, tipping off on Christmas Day. The NBA needs around one-month to get the season going and Friday was one month to Christmas.
“There is a lot of work to be done in a lot of places, with a lot of committees and player groups and alike but we are optimistic that it will hold and we will have ourselves an NBA season,” NBA commissioner David Stern said.
The new negotiation period took place thanks to back channel communication leading into Thanksgiving and the two sides agreed to meet on Black Friday. David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt and NBA general counsel Rick Buchanan met with former NBPA executive director Billy Hunter, former NBPA president Derek Fisher and former NBPA board member Maurice Evans. Attorney Ron Klempner and economist Kevin Murphy represented the players.
“We really can’t tell you much because we haven’t’ as of yet had a chance to speak with the plaintiffs in the case,” Hunter said. “I think I owe it first to them to discuss with them a tentative settlement that’s been reached before we disclose to the press and the public.”
A majority vote from each side is needed to approve the agreement. The NBA needs votes from 15 of 29 owners. Stern said he expects the labor committee to endorse it and recommend it to the full board.
The union needs a simple majority of its 430-plus members. That process is a bit more complicated after the players dissolved the union Nov. 14. Now, they must drop their antitrust lawsuit in Minnesota and reform the union before voting on the deal. Because the union disbanded, the new CBA can only be completed once the union has reformed.
Drug testing and other issues still must be negotiated between the players and the league, which also must dismiss its lawsuit filed in New York.
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