NBA owners, players ratify new collective bargaining deal
Toronto Raptors' DeMar DeRozan goes up for a dunk during first half NBA basketball action against the Miami Heat in Toronto Wednesday, April 13, 2011. (Darren Calabrese / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Thursday, December 8, 2011 6:44PM EST
NEW YORK - NBA basketball is back.
Owners and players ratified a new collective bargaining agreement Thursday, the final step to ending the five-month lockout and paving the way for training camps and free agency to open Friday.
The 10-year deal, allowing either side to opt out after six, promises owners savings of perhaps a quarter billion dollars a year, but largely leaves intact the soft salary cap system that the players fought hard to maintain.
Commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver announced the deal during a press conference, putting an end to nearly two years of difficult negotiations that resulted in the second shortened season in NBA history. A 66-game schedule will begin on Christmas and run through April 26, forcing every team to play on three straight nights at least once.