NBA owners and players reached a tentative labor agreement early Saturday morning. In about a month, the
“I’m excited,” said
If all goes as planned, training camps will begin Dec. 9, and a 66-game regular season will start with a tripleheader
League spokesman Tim Frank told the Orlando Sentinel that the All-Star Game would be played Feb. 26, as scheduled. League and city officials say the exhibition and its accompanying events could generate up to $100 million in economic impact for the region.
“I’m certainly pleased,” said Orlando Mayor
Although both sides would not release many details of the deal itself, the tentative deal was announced after the end of a 15-hour meeting that began Friday and stretched into Saturday's early morning hours.
“We’ve reached a tentative understanding that is subject to a variety of approvals and very complex machinations, but we’re optimistic that that will all come to pass,” NBA Commissioner
Players rejoiced — using Twitter as their public forum.
“IS IT TRUE?!?!” wrote
Former Magic guard
Former Magic forward
So the bitter labor dispute is coming to an end.
On Nov. 14, after Stern had presented players with what he framed as a take-it or leave-it offer, the
Now, the players will drop their lawsuit and recertify their union.
Once the union is back on its feet, a majority of players and a majority of owners formally must agree to the deal.
That should be no problem.
“We thought it was in both of our interest to try to reach a resolution and save the game and to be able to provide the kind of superb entertainment the NBA historically has provided,” NBPA Executive Director
Damage still has been done by the lockout, which will remain in effect at least until the union recertifies and the labor agreement is formally ratified by both the players and the owners.
The Magic will play perhaps one home preseason game and 33 home regular-season games. That means the city will have lost three home preseason exhibitions and eight home regular-season games; local businesses and game-night workers will not recover that money.
Tezlyn Figaró, who runs The Allied Group, a subcontractor that provides 20 to 25 ushers for each Magic home game, said that she and many of her employees will have difficulty this Christmas providing for their families. After all, she said, they don't get paid in advance.
Mike Rogier, one of the owners of the Hamburger Mary's Bar & Grille franchise on Church Street, heard about the labor deal just after he woke up Saturday.
It felt like Christmas morning. He said his restaurant does 40 percent more business on Magic game nights.
"The effects of lockout — we felt it, and we were going to feel it a lot in December coming up," Rogier said. "But I can tell you this: We're all just thrilled to death that they actually came to terms and finally cooler heads prevailed."
The lockout was in its 149th day Saturday, and the gag order put into place by Stern remained in effect.
Magic officials, therefore, would not comment at length about the new deal or the deal’s effects on the franchise. In a statement, the team’s president,
But it doesn’t seem like the broad outlines of the new deal will do much more to help the Magic keep
The Magic still will retain Howard's "Bird rights," which will enable the team to go beyond the cap to re-sign him and offer him a longer deal with higher raises than other teams can provide.
But, according to SheridanHoops.com, NBA owners relented on one of their demands. They dropped the so-called "Carmelo Rule," which would have forbidden extend-and-trade deals.
So, Howard will have leverage to force a deal to another franchise if he wants to do so.
But there is a potential positive for the Magic.
The free-agency period is tentatively scheduled to begin Dec. 9, and it should set off a frenzy of activity for all teams, including the Magic.
Jason Richardson, the starting shooting guard at the end of last season, is an unrestricted free agent. The team could re-sign Richardson or it could elevate
The team will have another critical decision to make: Will it use the amnesty provision that reportedly will be included in the labor deal?
The amnesty clause would allow the Magic to release one player and, although the team would have to pay his entire remaining salary, the franchise would receive salary-cap relief and luxury-tax relief.
In the meantime, how will fans react once the NBA resumes?
The Magic have sold out their last 120 regular-season and postseason games. Will that streak continue?
Some fans no doubt have been completely turned off by the labor dispute, but not 27-year-old Thaer Lutfi, who visited Amway Center on Saturday afternoon with his cousin and her daughter, who was wearing a Magic cheerleader's outfit.
"I'll always support the Magic, no matter what," Lutfi said.