The NBA is not officially back. But everyone is at the table and confident in the loose agreement laid on the table, waiting to be signed by the powers-that-be and for several smaller pieces to fall in place. When all is said and done, there will be a 2011-12 NBA season in the books and David Stern says 66 games will still be played.
The NBA is likely to start on Christmas Day with a tripleheader that involves all of the typical headlining teams. Before then, NBA training camps are likely to open on December 6, according to Stern's timeline. Of course, several things have to fall into place first.
The player's union must re-certify in order to come together and vote. The Associated Press reports that drug testing and other aspects of the deal must also be fully fleshed out. Still, after 15 hours of meetings yesterday, it's clear the ultimate framework is in place for the NBA to finally move forward after a 149-day lockout.
"The deal was expected to be a huge victory for the owners, though not as resounding as when they sought a hard salary cap and rollbacks of existing salaries when the negotiations got off to a strained start in February 2010," the AP report. "They struggled from there to get on track, with players frustrated by the lack of movement from the owners for months.
"Hunter said the terms of the deal would come out shortly, preferring to keep them private until they could be shared with the players. They might not like the deal, but it will be better than what many of them feared. Resigned to possibly missing the season, some had signed deals overseas so they would have some paycheck."