There wasn't a lot of joy on the tired faces of NBA commissioner David Stern or his counter-party, Billy Hunter of the NBA Players (Trade) Association. The two sides held a joint press conference in a small conference room in a New York law office and announced a tentative deal on the broad outline of an agreement that would end the NBA lockout and allow a 66-game season to begin on Christmas Day.
"The reason for the settlement is we've got fans, we've got players who'd like to play, we've got others who are dependent on us and it's always been our goal to reach a deal that was fair to both sides and get us playing as soon as possible," Stern said early in the hours of November 26.
There are a lot of details yet to be worked out including a vote on the deal by the player and the formal end to the anti-trust law suits that were filed after talks broke down two weeks ago. The full body of owners must also vote on the deal.
We've yet to see the exact details, but initial reports are the owners essentially got what they wanted in terms of a roughly 50/50 split of BRI, increased penalties for teams that spend excessively over the luxury tax, and shorter and smaller contracts for mid-tier players.
The deal will likely be very similar to ones the players twice rejected over the last month. The owners perhaps moved on some relatively small issues that would have impacted a small number of players in free agency each year.
Without the ultimatums and imperious public negotiating tactics of David Stern this deal could have been reached some time ago. Without the ego and stubborn pride of the players this deal could have been reached some time ago. We'll know for sure once we are able to compare this deal to the previous proposal.
For now, we know the plan is to open both training camp and free agency on December 9. It's worth noting that there are a lot of details in the final CBA that haven't been agreed to and this deal could certainly fall apart at any time until it's officially ratified by both sides.
Here's an early look at the roster and free agency situation facing the 2011-12 Phoenix Suns.