The start of the new National Basketball Association (NBA) season has been delayed over a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players’ association.
But after a 15-hour meeting between parties on Friday, an end now looks in sight with the possibility of the NBA season beginning on Christmas Day, December 25.
NBA commissioner David Stern says a ‘tentative understanding’ has been reached to end the five-month lockout.
Several issues became the cause of the lockout, with team owners insisting on a 50-50 split revenue share, while players had proposed a 52.5 percent share. No details of the new agreement have yet been released
The new agreement, which could see a triple-header of fixtures on Christmas Day with a shorter season of 66 games, is yet to be ratified but Stern added: “We’ve reached a tentative understanding that is subject to a variety of approvals and very complex machinations, but we’re optimistic that will all come to pass.”
Players’ union executive director Billy Hunter said: “We’re happy that we’ve been able to reach a tentative litigation settlement with regard to many issues that are pending before the various courts.
Players have been locked out of NBA facilities for 149 days and, should the plan proceed as scheduled, teams would play 16 games less than a normal season.
NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said the tentative deal called for a more balanced league,
“It will largely prevent the high spending teams from competing in the free agency market in a way that they have been able to in the past,” he said.
“It is a compromise and it is not the system we sought out to get in terms of a harder (salary) cap but the luxury tax is harsher than it was in the past deal and we hope it’s effective.