Early on Saturday morning, the NBA players and owners announced they have reached a tentative 10-year agreement to end the 149-day lockout, pending formal voting by both a reformed players union and NBA ownership. After a fierce negotiation process that left each side willing to talk openly about losing an entire season in the name of a more favorable deal, the joint announcement serves as a reminder that the end game in the negotiation has always been to get back to NBA basketball.
"We want to play basketball," Commissioner David Stern said.
"We thought it was in both of our interest to try to reach a resolution and save the game," union executive director Billy Hunter said.
Here are more details on what we know right now:
- The Basketball Related Income (BRI) split will be set by a band that can fluctuate between 49 and 51 percent for the players and owners, depending on the leagues annual growth. Previous offers had made it nearly impossible for the players to ever achieve the 51 percent share of BRI, but under this new tentative agreement they have a legitimate chance to reach that favorable split.
- According to Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com, the owners relented on the so-called "Carmelo Anthony Rule," aiming to abolish extend-and-trade deals like the one that sent Anthony to the New York Knicks last season. The players got the win on this aspect of the deal, considering it may be use to Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Dwight Howard in the upcoming season as they aim to leverage new contracts with contenders.
- According to Steve Aschburner of NBA.com, the full mid-level exception for non-luxury tax teams will be
fivefour years for a maximum of $5 million. For teams that are above the luxury tax threshold, there will be a mini mid-level exception for taxpaying teams that maxes out at $2.5 million.
- A 10 percent maximum escrow tax will be withheld from players' paychecks to structure the BRI split properly, but there will not be an additional increase as requested by the owners in the previous offer, per Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. The offer match period for restricted free agents will be reduced from seven days down to three days. Minimum qualifying offers for restricted free agents are expected to increase "significantly," according to Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com.
- The current deal does still include the amnesty provision that would allow teams to cut one player on the roster and avoid having that salary count against the cap number, while possibly allowing teams to spread the remaining payments on the deal for a longer period of time. There were originally provisions for payment adjustments if the amnesty player signed with another team after being cut as well, so stay tuned for more on the mechanics of the provision.
- Formal voting by the players is expected to take place on either Saturday or Sunday. They must first voluntarily dismiss their lawsuits against the league and reform the players union before a vote can take place. As for the owners, they need 15 of 29 votes for approval (recall that the league owns the New Orleans Hornets, so that is an automatic) and the 13-member labor relations committee will discuss the agreement on Saturday before endorsing and recommending it to the full ownership board.
- If the tentative deal receives the necessary votes for approval by both parties, which is expected at this point, the NBA will open a 66-game season that, under the original schedule, begins with a Christmas day tripleheader of games: Boston Celtics @ New York Knicks, Miami Heat @ Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls @ Los Angeles Lakers. That would be one heck of a way to open the season, right? Right.
- The deal is a 10-year agreement that allows either side to opt out after six years.
- Training camps and free agency would both open on December 9th. Deputy NBA Commissioner and Cheif Operating Officer Adam Silver eluded to the fact that the luxury tax will be harsher under the new system, saying:
"We feel ultimately it will give fans in every community hope their team can compete for championships, and that their basis for believing in their team will be a function of management of that team, rather than, as I've said before, how deep the owners pockets are or how large the market is."
- The NBA Playoffs and NBA Finals would both start one week later that normal under the new timetable.
- If you don't believe what you are reading, here is the visual proof!