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NBA owners, players reach tentative deal, games to begin Dec. 25

Nov 26, 2011, 3:34 AM EDT

Billy Hunter David Stern AP

Finally, we are going to have NBA basketball again.

After more than 15 hours of negotiations Friday into Saturday morning (following a week of secretive talks), the NBA owners and players have reached a handshake deal on a new collective bargaining agreement the sides announced. (Ken Berger at broke the story.)

“We’ve reached a tentative understanding,” said NBA commissioner David Stern at a hastily put together 3:30 a.m. press conference. “(The deal) is subject to a variety of approvals and very complex machinations. We’re optimistic that will all come to pass and the NBA season will begin Dec. 25.”

That will be a Christmas Day start with a triple-header followed by a 66-game season, providing both the owners and players ratify this deal.

There are a lot of details still to be worked out — first up are all the “B” list issues such as draft age and drug testing, things the sides do not all agree on but are not serious enough to block a deal. Then the players’ union has to be reformed (remember they dissolved to allow for antitrust lawsuits to be filed) and finally the owners and players will have to vote on a final version of the agreement.

All of that is going to take 10 days to two weeks. The lockout will not officially be over until then.

Training camps and a free agency period will begin simultaneously on Dec. 9, Stern said.

At that press conference neither Stern nor NBPA director Billy Hunter were willing to talk about a lot of details of the agreement because neither had spoken to their entire constituency yet. However, this deal is likely close to the last offer from the owners and Stern to the players. There may have been a little movement, but not a lot from the offer the players rejected less than two weeks ago.

The players got a little more than 50 percent of league revenue (BRI) but not 51 percent, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN. It is apparently going to be a band in the 49-51 percent range, but will essentially fall as 50/50. In the previous labor deal the players got 57 percent of the league revenue and that was ultimately the big issue in these talks — the owners say they were losing money and wanted a bigger cut of the more than $4 billion in annual revenue the NBA generates. With this they should about cover the $300 million the owners claim to have lost last year.

Talks Saturday took a turn towards blowing up again when players attorney Jeffrey Kessler — the real pit bull for the union — was on a conference call with the talks and said the players demanded 51 percent of the revenues. There was a feeling that might blow the whole talks up, but cooler heads prevailed.

One thing the deal will do is prevent larger-market, big-spending teams from competing in the free agent market as they had in the past, said NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver. Again there were no details but with a stronger luxury tax and other punitive measures it will be hard for teams to spend up to and around $90 million a season. The deal also raises the salary floor — those small market teams need to spend up to 85 percent of the cap the first two years and 90 percent after that.

This would be a 10-year deal where both sides can opt out at year six.

Neither side loves this deal, which is how a good compromise should end. There are owners and players that will vote against it, but it is expected a majority of both will pass it.

In the end, Spurs owner Peter Holt summed it up best:

“We want to play basketball. Let’s go play basketball.”


  1. adeedothatswho - Nov 26, 2011 at 3:39 AM


    • denverdude7 - Nov 26, 2011 at 7:20 AM


      Here comes the 24/7 coverage of Bron-Bron. God, help us all.

  2. premiumpit - Nov 26, 2011 at 3:53 AM

    Finally…Let’s go KNICKS

  3. bearsstillsuck - Nov 26, 2011 at 3:54 AM

    after all that hard work, and a lot of people probably won’t even watch. I know I won’t be, I don’t forgive so easily.

    • mytthor - Nov 26, 2011 at 4:25 AM

      “I don’t forgive so easily.”

      Seriously man? Did the NBA lockout sleep with your wife or something?

      • denverdude7 - Nov 26, 2011 at 7:18 AM

        If it didn’t, she would be about the only one it didn’t sleep with. Someone should bring her in for a tryout. She must be really fast.

  4. 6thsense79 - Nov 26, 2011 at 4:31 AM

    bearsstillsuck…..really? That’s cool but nobody really cares. I love the NBA and judging from the NBA’s $4 billion revenue from last season millions of other folks out there love the NBA also. I’m glad a deal is almost here. I hope to see Lebron, Dwyane, Kobe, KG, Durant, D Rose, Melo, etc balling again. I tried College basketball. I really did. I grew up in North Carolina where college ball is king and I could never love it the way I do the pros. I’m glade the NBA is almost here……even though I’m a Wizards fan…. 😦

  5. kandh2004 - Nov 26, 2011 at 4:48 AM

    Well Kurt a guess I’m done going after your love for the players it was fun but I really rather have basketball back

    • jimeejohnson - Nov 26, 2011 at 11:12 AM

      And I’m finished denigrating useful idiots for the owners! I’d rather watch the best players in the world play hoops.

  6. eaglessuperfan - Nov 26, 2011 at 5:50 AM

    I did not see this coming when I went to bed. I guess they came to there senses. A bit late, but better now then never.

    • denverdude7 - Nov 26, 2011 at 7:31 AM

      How could you not see this coming? Tattoos, gold chains, and Cadillac Escalades are expensive.

      So much for the players showing their solidarity much less any backbone.

      The players wanted their bling back. The players caved in, plain and simple.

      David Stern 1
      NBAPA 0 Final

      • progress2011 - Nov 26, 2011 at 10:11 AM

        Hater !!!

        Dude you have so much stereotypical racism boiling right under the surface of your comments, it’s obvious you don’t truly care about the players caving in !!!

        Find the tallest trailer, in your trailer park community, climb to the top of it and jump off head first !!

        Haters- Zero…Rest of World – Infinity

      • mytthor - Nov 26, 2011 at 1:32 PM

        Your racism is not only pitiful, it’s uninformed. Escalades are so 4 years ago, and not really all that expensive. Tattoos aren’t expensive either, or your trailer trash mother wouldn’t be able to afford that confederate flag on her back. And gold stopped being the precious metal of choice in 1995.

  7. 00maltliquor - Nov 26, 2011 at 6:17 AM

    DON’T F*** WITH ME!!!!!!!!! Please, PLEASE don’t play with my emotions!!!!!! I did not see this coming! I just came home late after a long night at work (thanks black friday) and turned on ESPN and then came here! I am about to piss myself!!!

    • roverboy1949 - Nov 26, 2011 at 8:13 AM

      At least you have a job!!

  8. denverdude7 - Nov 26, 2011 at 7:06 AM

    This is just great.

    Just when it looked like we wouldn’t have to hear too much about Bron-Bron and the rest of these overpaid, overhyped, tattooed, bling bearing egomaniacs they go and settle the lockout.

    To make matters even worse, they are going to start the season on Christmas day thereby ruining the holiday for millions of people.

    Oh well, maybe the players won’t approve the deal. Yeah, right, that will happen. They are probably so tired of asking would you like fries with that they would accept any deal at all. Plus, it’s tough paying for those 24″ chrome rims for their Escalades while making minimum wage. On the bright side, McDonalds will be looking for new recruits to replace all those NBA players that will be leaving .

    • progress2011 - Nov 26, 2011 at 10:20 AM


      The only thing funny about your comments, is the realization that you are ” eating your heart out ” !!!

      You are obviously a member of one of the idiot, uneducated, toothless, meth smoking, trailer park residents that have attempted to oppress minorities, historically !!!

      You don’t care about basketball. You are only here to spew your clandestine hatred for other human beings, that don’t look like you.

      The world is leaving you idiots behind. Since you crawled out of your cave with the other Neanderthals, did anyone tell you the planet is not flat !!!


      • philwauke - Nov 26, 2011 at 10:32 AM

        Talk about racist… You are a shining example.

      • philwauke - Nov 26, 2011 at 10:34 AM

        meant for progress

  9. omniusprime - Nov 26, 2011 at 7:26 AM

    It’s about time! Sad that this deal couldn’t have been hammered out before the season ever began but this is what happens when hardliners on both sides screw up the negotiations by being unreasonable. The only thing missing is giving David Stern his pink slip as he has been the worst thing to happen to the NBA ever. An NBA commissioner must be supportive of both sides, not an overpaid lackey of the rich and greedy owners.

    Ofcourse the one true loser in all these negotiations are us fans. No one ever represented us fans and without us fans these overpaid prime donnas would have to actually work a real job for a living. Better believe that we fans will be forced to pay more than ever to enjoy our NBA games, whether we attend the games or watch them on tv. If ticket and tv prices go up then we fans ought to go on strike!

    • gregg1615 - Nov 26, 2011 at 10:07 AM

      I agree that it is the fans who were lost in all of this. I say fans should show a boycott, don’t buy merchandise,don’t pay the high ticket prices, leave the arenas half empty, basically show the owners and the players that it is the fans that keep it all going. Ridiculous salaries that are so out of line that I’ll just watch games on TV thank you.

  10. bertilfox - Nov 26, 2011 at 7:51 AM


    The players may have caved…but they didn’t have the strongest bargaining position as it was. They took the best deal that they could get at the time. Christmas is going to seem like….uh, Christmas! Go Celts!

  11. roverboy1949 - Nov 26, 2011 at 8:12 AM

    Who Cares?????

  12. cordae - Nov 26, 2011 at 8:18 AM

    Thank God, for a minute there I thought I was gonna actually have to SIT and listen to my family on Christmas instead of enjoying an NBA game.

    • flyersfan171 - Nov 26, 2011 at 9:00 AM

      i would rather talk to my family

  13. philbaby - Nov 26, 2011 at 8:23 AM

    Glad we finally get basketball.

    While I respect the players for standing up for what they believed in. You have to understand the owners position. They look at it from a business prospective and when you have had players like overrated and super pimped the NBA Penny Hardaway, the owners had to get more for their money. Players like Hardaway with guarantee money and never produced for the team or community: he wouldn’t play if he sneezed, could never get along with anyone on any team, ALWAYS needed a trade, cried about everything, go back to Memphis love hanging out with dope boys (LIl Woo). These are real examples to show the public why the owners needed to make their case.

    They are looking for an investment with a return (Battier, Kobe, Durant, Melo). There have been many players in the past and current that have hurt the league. And the NBA Union knew this.

    Thanks finally basketball is on!

  14. santolonius - Nov 26, 2011 at 8:24 AM

    if two seasons from now the nba finals feature lakers v celtics this deal is a failure. if they have found a way to spread titles around a little, then hooray!

    • blueintown - Nov 26, 2011 at 8:56 AM

      I’m mad because the system is fixed towards other teams. Now I’m happy because the system is fixed towards other teams. What’s it like living in Charlotte/on the moon?

      • santolonius - Nov 26, 2011 at 9:52 AM

        if 10 teams are allowed to spend 30 million a year more than the poorer clubs of the league for the simple reason that “not allowing” those excesses would favor small markets, then the 20 teams that cannot afford life in the nba shouldn’t really be called teams at all. call them what they are… sparring partners. professional boxers have them. for 30 years the big boys of the nba have had them too, but nobody was willing to tell the truth that these bottom feeders weren’t really teams.

    • rreducla1 - Nov 26, 2011 at 9:59 AM

      It has already been explained to you–multiple times–why the “competitive balance” argument doesn’t work. We shall have to hope that you and the other ignorant lockout trolls like denverdude7 go back to NASCAR or whatever.

      • santolonius - Nov 26, 2011 at 10:35 AM

        a) i reject your explanations against the need to strive for competitive balance. to put it simply, you are star-struck and wrong to support dynasties.
        b) i have never watched a nascar race in my life.

      • jimeejohnson - Nov 26, 2011 at 11:15 AM

        Dallas Mavericks may not be a small market team, but they never won a championship before last season. It will be interesting to see whether they can repeat.

      • rreducla1 - Nov 27, 2011 at 2:45 AM


        As usual, you have no facts, no sense of history or of the sport, and are operating strictly on emotion. In previous posts, I and others have explained the league’s history, with examples, and how the nature of the sport and how it is marketed and televised precludes an NFL-type situation from developing. You have yet to address any of these points–because you can’t. It is also highly debatable as to whether that sort of model would be good for the league as a commercial product even if it were possible.

        If the owners eventually succeed in getting a hard cap in the next CBA, that still won’t create the type of league you have conjured in your head, unless perhaps they simply eliminate free agency for All-Star caliber players. Even if they did that, and no more than one star was ever on each team, whoever had the best player would have an enormous advantage, as it would be very hard to put together a team like the 2010 Celtics that could beat the 2010 Cavs or a team like the 1990 Pistons that could beat the 1990 Bulls.

  15. mnrneck - Nov 26, 2011 at 8:31 AM

    d-damn, here I was hoping for peace and quiet for at least a year, if not two!

  16. florida727 - Nov 26, 2011 at 8:38 AM

    For those of you fed up with the money, the greed, etc., just don’t watch.

    For those that want to watch a glorified one-on-one game, even though there are 10 players on the court at a time, hope you enjoy the games. Seriously, I hope you do. Personally, I don’t enjoy the NBA game nearly as much as the college game. The NBA is an individual players game. College is a team game. I don’t think anyone can really argue that.

    If “fans” genuinely want to send a message to the NBA, it’s easy… do NOT tune in on Christmas Day. Ratings speak volumes.

  17. 6thsense79 - Nov 26, 2011 at 8:43 AM

    For those commenting you’ll never watch another game that’s kind of funny because if you were fed up with something you wouldn’t be on a message board commenting about it. You guys sound as hilarious as my 4 year old nephew who’s new phrase after he gets mad at somebody is his pouty “I’m never gonna talk to you again!”….of course 1 hour later his back being your best friend and forgot what he was mad at you about.

    For those crying because now you’ll have to watch “Bron Bron” on Christmas day….News flash YOU DON’T! This isn’t 1950. We have more than 3 channels these days. There are many, many, things you can chose to watch.

    For those commenting about Fans not being represented at the negotiation table ……get over yourselves. You are a paying customer. You represent yourself every time you turn on an NBA game or purchase NBA tickets or products. If you don’t like the product than don’t buy it. Do you demand to be represented at the negotiation table of other private companies as they negotiate agreements between their partners or employees?

    I’m happy the season is back. I’m an NBA fan and all throughout the negotiations I never took it personally that the players or owners were bargaining in their best interest. Evidently many of you guys did.

    • gregg1615 - Nov 26, 2011 at 10:28 AM

      I cast my vote for many things that I’m not majorly involved in, like this issue in the NBA. From my perspective, if I simply look at the salaries of professional athletes such as in the NBA, it is shocking, amazing, unbelievable, completely out of whack to be paid millions for playing ball. It is akin to a congressman receiving a lifetime great salary for 4 years of service. Give me a break, both are ridiculous. I for oner will be spending my time and money on my wife, kids, and grandkids. Fans should organize and boycott high ticket prices which help to support outrageous salaries and voters should start by stopping the lifetime outrageous salaries for those that perform 4 years on public service.

    • progress2011 - Nov 26, 2011 at 10:38 AM

      COMMON SENSE speaks volumes, 6th Sense !!!

      However, the board is patrolled by knuckle-dragging Neanderthals, that ” hate ” human beings !
      Mainly because the majority of the NBA players don’t look like them.

      Ultimately, I’m glad to see B-Ball return because it means thousands of Americans will now EARN gainful employment.

      From parking lot attendants or concession stand workers all the way up to David Stern himself, the NBA season will provide very needed income to many American families and provide an additional jolt to our economic struggles.

  18. tiredtraveller - Nov 26, 2011 at 8:45 AM

    Well, thank God! I can now sleep nights knowing these idiots got what they wanted! I was soooooooo concerned that they’d be penniless during the holidays that I developed insomnia “like LeBron developed LeGreed”. What a bunch of ladies. If they want to earn the money they make, regardless of the usual stat that states “only one person in a million could make that shot”, these morons serve their country in the military. Period. I did and was laid-off two years ago – I’m not whining about money to buy a new car or “entertain the ladies”, only to feed my family. F*** the NBA!!!! Simply slavery in reversal!!!

    • 6thsense79 - Nov 26, 2011 at 3:45 PM

      Awwww…..poor tiredtraveller…..Jealous cause he’s out of work and others are making millions. Get a job and end your pity party. What an NBA player, who is a party of a private entertainment industry, makes has no impact on you what so ever. These are not government workers supported by tax payers.

      Also this Lock out was never about players demanding any money from owners. This was about Owners demanding and getting almost $300 million from the players’ revenue share. At least try to learn the major points of this conflict before you open your mouth and prove how clueless you are.

  19. denverdude7 - Nov 26, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    There is still a slight chance the players will show their solidarity, grow a backbone and vote the deal down.

    What am I saying? These guys are spineless and want their bling back. Christmas will be ruined with ESPN going to their Bron-Bron all the time format.

  20. flyersfan171 - Nov 26, 2011 at 8:52 AM

    why don’t they just make it a all woman sport, cause thats what it is, squeek, squeek, shoot…..yawn. if i was paying them they would make 6.75 an hour and make them have a real job on the side

  21. stoutfiles - Nov 26, 2011 at 8:54 AM

    To all the stadium workers…you got your job back! You start on Christmas Day!

    Seriously, no sports should be played on Christmas. It’s not just bad for the teams, it’s bad for all the other people involved who aren’t making millions of dollars.

    • progress2011 - Nov 26, 2011 at 10:49 AM

      Tell that to a person that has been out of work several months( or more ) and need to earn money to pay the utility bill, put food on the table or buy a gift or two for a child.

      I know you and all of your trailer park, ” good-ole-boys ” hate to see people that don’t look like you, earn a living but after Bush ran the country into a Great Recession, it is important for people to get back to work asap, to not only help their families but help America pull out of this recession.

      Your comments are so idiotic, I doubt you have more than a 7th grade education ! That’s not totally bad because if you work very hard, you can possibly get a G.E.D.

      Then you can possibly get a job to earn an income and then you not have so much contempt and hatred for others.

  22. Amadeus - Nov 26, 2011 at 9:04 AM

    Thank goodness the players no longer have to suffer any longer and eat Top Ramen.

  23. flyersfan171 - Nov 26, 2011 at 9:06 AM

    why don’t we take away collective barganing away from athletes?

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 26, 2011 at 11:49 AM

      You’re saying people shouldn’t be able to organize to improve their working conditions. Given the chance, the owners would exploit the players in a massive way. Never underestimate human greed (on either side). The unions are a counterbalance.

    • 6thsense79 - Nov 26, 2011 at 2:58 PM

      Good question flyersfan171…….But the athletes tried to give away their collective bargaining rights and disolve their Union. Once that happens the players cannot collectivly bargain. It was the owners who demanded the players union stays in place and even went so far as to sue the player’s so that they remain in a union.

      Collective bargaining protects pro sports teams from anti trust suits. Without collective bargaining there would be no draft, in the NFL they would be no franchise tag, there would be no salary caps, no salary floor, no limits on how much a super star like say Lebron James or Kobe Bryant can earn…..After Lebron James left Cleveland the value of that franchise dropped $250 million according to I would venture to guess if James can add $250 million in value to a franchise there would be teams willing to pay him significantly more than the top yearly franchise rate of $16 million per year. If there were no collective bargaining teams couldn’t keep HS graduates from entering the NBA draft…….You see the owners and players both benefit from collective bargaining in ALL professional team sports in the US. I hope that answers your question.

  24. nelle - Nov 26, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    Hmmmmm…when reporters were running around claiming the season lost, not two weeks ago I wrote here the decertification would lead to a deal. I expected it to take a month, my bad.

  25. lltony - Nov 26, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    @ denerdude……… why is such unintelligent folk/cats always seem to focus on the negative.Such jealousy is appalling..try playing a sport you luv all your life beating your body daily to be the best in a highly competitive sport and then never getting rewarded..(IT WOULD PROBABLY SUCK) But you are so a shame and sorry for your MacDonald job you continue your rhetoric and jealous rant like a kid who never got their share.
    Relax sucker..these same bling bling gentlemen that you rage so much about brings more revenue to cities than you can imagine..ask the worker who suffered through out this lockout…which is of course the fault of both owners and players..

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