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Happy holidays! NBA season to launch on Chrismas Day

NBAThe NBA owners will end the lockout, as a 66-game campaign is set to start on Christmas Day after owners and players agreed on a 10-year deal to save the 2011-2012 season.

It will be the second-shortest season in NBA history.

In the end, the owners got almost everything they wanted: a more balanced basketball-revenue sharing deal,  (50-50, as opposed to the current 57-43 edge for the players, though it could rise or lower by a percentage point depending on well or poorly the league is doing), eliminate many extend-and-trade deals, and expand the luxury tax to promote a more competitive league landscape. At the end of the day, players should receive $3 billion less under the new deal than they did under the old deal. The owners didn’t get everything they wanted — the salary cap isn’t as hard as they wanted, and salaries won’t be dramatically lowered — but at the end of the day NBA Commissioner David Stern was smiling and player rep Derek Fisher wasn’t, according to The New York Times:

While Stern, [Peter] Holt and Adam Silver, the deputy commissioner, smiled through their fatigue, the players’ representatives — [Billy] Hunter, Derek Fisher and Mo Evans — looked grim.

“For myself, it’s great to be a part of this particular moment, in terms of giving our fans what it is that they so badly wanted and want to see,” said Fisher, the erstwhile president of the players union.

He did not smile as he said it, appearing more relieved than happy. Evans, another member of what was the union’s executive board, sat stoically next to Fisher. No one on the players’ side praised the agreement.

Still to be worked out: the specifics of drug testing and the future role of the D-League.

As noted: the season is expected to begin Christmas Day, with the traditional New York Knicks match at Madison Square Garden. It will be a short training camp for teams, with free agency and the start of camp both scheduled for Dec. 2.

RELATED STORIES: NBA scraps first two weeks of the season


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