The NBA is back! Shortened season saved, as well as the 2012 All-Star Game in Orlando!
On the morning of the 149th day of the lockout, legitimate positive news – the only news that would be acceptable – has finally come, the NBA lockout has tentatively ended. Billy Hunter, David Stern and other key pieces of the negotiating teams from both sides met for 15 hours on Friday and into Saturday to reach the tentative deal. The next step is for the players to re-form the union and vote on the final CBA. All “formalities” and it will take some time, but nobody around the league (media/players/owners) seems to think that the deal will fall apart.
David Stern announced that there will be a condensed 66 game season that will begin on Christmas Day with a triple header. He did not reveal which teams will be playing yet. Both training camp and free agency will begin on December 9th which ensures a chaotic free agency period. That few weeks will get even crazier once you include the “amnesty provision” which is reportedly included in the approved CBA.
Orlando Magic free agents: Jason Richardson, Earl Clark and Malik Allen. (Also, the two second round draft picks Justin Harper and DeAndre Liggins)
Potential Magic Amnesty victims: Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu, Gilbert Arenas, Chris Duhon and Gilbert Arenas.
When you include all the players throughout the league that will get stamped with AMNESTY, player movement in these few weeks could be at an all time high. This whole lockout could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Otis Smith who will have a substantially greater amount of flexibility to remake the Magic roster and most importantly, keep Dwight Howard happy.
Other exciting news for Orlando is that 2012 All-Star game will also be saved. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel had that scoop:
The 2012 All-Star Game would be played, as scheduled, in downtown Orlando on Feb. 26, league spokesman Tim Frank told the Orlando Sentinel. City and league officials have said the exhibition could generate as much as $100 million in economic impact for Central Florida.
The “All-Star Weekend” last season in Dallas brought in estimated $152M-$260M in economic impact to the Dallas area.
Big round of applause goes out to the NBA players for standing strong against the NBA Mother Ship and it’s owners. They gave up between 6-8 percentage points on their total income, but still managed to maintain their ability to move freely amongst the markets. Many of the power plays that the NBA owners were trying to institute, were reverted back to the rules of the previous agreement or to what had previously been jointly negotiated. Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com has some of the exclusive details of the new CBA on his website such as the 6 year opt-out for both sides, the BRI split and enhanced qualifying offers to restricted free agents.
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated outlines how the deal got done, here. The most important line from his article is that both the NBA and the players seem happy with the new deal. Happiness is obviously relative, but removing animosity from the upcoming season is invaluable.
You can watch the joint press conference between David Stern and Billy Hunter below: