It appears that <runtime:topic id="15008001">NBA</runtime:topic> fans may get a basketball Christmas present after all.
NBA commissioner <runtime:topic id="PEBSL000509">David Stern</runtime:topic> and players union executive director <runtime:topic id="PEBSL000522">Billy Hunter</runtime:topic> have confirmed that both sides have reached a tenative agreement to get a new labor agreement and end the 146-day <runtime:topic id="EVSPR0000173">NBA Lockout</runtime:topic>.
"We've reached a tentative understanding," said Stern at a quickly prepared news conference in New York early Saturday morning with Hunter by his side.
Ken Berger, an NBA insider for CBSSports.com, was the first to report the news via <runtime:topic id="ORCRP00010280">Twitter</runtime:topic> around 3:10 A.M. EST.
This comes after both sides met for over 15 hours on Friday in an attempt to get a new deal.
According to Stern, training camps are expected to open on December 9th with the opening games coming on Christmas day. Teams would then play a reduced 66-game schedule as opposed to a normal 82-game schedule for a full season.
"We're very pleased that we've come this far," said Stern of the agreement. "There's still a lot of work to be done. We're optimistic that it will hold and we'll have an NBA season."
Though this agreement likely means the end of the lockout, the CBA will not become official until it is approved by both the owners and the players. Hunter said the time to get that taken care of would be three days to a week.
Because the deal is just tentative, neither Stern nor Hunter wanted to discuss the specifics of the deal that was reached.
"We're gonna turn it all over to the lawyers and have them work out," said Hunter of what's next for the deal.
A tentative deal comes after both sides met secretly earlier this week following an initial rejection of a labor proposal on November 14th. Just like other deals before, that one was rejected by players because they felt it was a bad split of the Basketball Related Income that is shared with the owners.
Following that rejection, it was openly discussed among players, owners and fans that an entire season may be lost. Hunter says it was after that when a sense of urgency entered the negotiations and brought about a resolution.
"I think it was the ability of the parties to decide that it was necessary to compromise and to try and put this thing back together some kinda way, to be able to put and end to the litigation," said Hunter of what helped to bring about a deal. "We though that rather than trying to pursue this in court it was in both of our interest to reach a resolution.
"One to save the game and to be able to provide the kinda superb entertainment the NBA historically has provided."
Representatives of the owners concurred with Hunter in the desire to prevent the first entirely lost season in NBA history.
"lt required a lot of compromise from both parties and I think that's what we saw today," said NBA Deputy commissioner Adam Silver of the agreement. "I think we saw a willingness on both sides to compromise yet a little bit more and to reach this agreement.
"We look forward to opening on Christmas. We're excited to bring NBA basketball back."
For local NBA fans, this would mean that the <runtime:topic id="ORSPT000102">Pacers</runtime:topic> would open the 2011-2012 NBA season on December 26th at <runtime:topic id="ORCRP003815">Conseco</runtime:topic> Fieldhouse against the <runtime:topic id="ORSPT000099">Pistons</runtime:topic> should the original schedule after Christmas hold true.
A few <runtime:topic id="ORSPT000102">Indiana Pacers</runtime:topic> began weighing in on the decision on Twitter after it broke on Saturday evening.
<runtime:topic id="PESPT0000010761">Danny Granger</runtime:topic> said on his account "dgranger33": "The lockout isn't over yet....both sides still have to vote on the proposed cba" and then "I'm pretty sure the vote will happen either tomorrow or sunday...let's all pray this turns out well."
Forward <runtime:topic id="PESPT0000010872">Brandon Rush</runtime:topic> tweeted at "iamthaking25": "We might be back n action soon" and "Training camp n 2 weeks."