Owners, players reach deal, NBA lockout is over

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After nearly five months and the cancelation of hundreds of games, the NBA and its players have reached agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, according to reports out of New York. CBSsports.com was the first to report the breaking news.

In a joint press conference, commissioner David Stern said free agency and training camp will begin on Dec. 9. The Celtics will be a very busy team with six open roster spots.

“It’s subject to a variety of complex calculations but we’re optimistic that will all come to pass and that the NBA season will begin on Dec. 25, Christmas Day,” Stern told reporters in a 3:30 a.m. press conference at a Manhattan hotel. “We’ve very pleased that we’ve come this far. There’s a lot of work to be done in a lot of places but we’re optimistic that it will hold and we’ll have ourselves an NBA season.”

The season is expected to start Dec. 25 and it is uncertain whether the league will pick up from its original schedule or add more games. The two sides agreed to talk again this week after the NBA Players Association disbanded and became a trade association. The NBPA filed two lawsuits against the league in the past two weeks.

Those lawsuits would have to be settled, and the league would have to carve time for free agency, training camp and a short preseason. When it appeared the season would be canceled, the two sides began talking informally this week and talks became serious Friday and lasted until 3 a.m. Saturday before reports surfaced that an agreement had been reached.

“For myself as a representative for a lot of players, the most important key here that our fans and the support of the people,” NBPA president Derek Fisher said. “It’s great to be a part of this particular moment in terms of getting our fans what it is that they’ve so badly wanted and want to see.”

If the schedule does not change, the Celtics would open the season at Madison Square Garden in New York on Dec. 25. The Celtics’ first home game would be Dec. 30 against the Detroit Pistons.

Now, both sides will take the deal to their respective parties for a vote. Stern said the NBA labor relations committee are likely to ratify the deal while Hunter said it will take “three days to a week” for the NBPA to reform and then vote to ratify the deal.

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