NBA lockout partially lifted

(L-R) Maurice Evans, Derek Fisher, Billy Hunter, NBA Commissioner David Stern, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver and Peter Holt speak to members of the press in New York City to announce a tentative labor agreement to end the NBA lockout on Nov. 26, 2011.

With a tentative deal to end the five-month lockout and begin a 66-game season of National Basketball Association basketball, the NBA told teams they could open their practice facilities starting Thursday, Fox News reported. Players will be allowed to use the facilities for “voluntary conditioning” but not for “basketball-related activities.”

The NBA said team officials could also begin discussions with agents for unsigned rookies and free agents, though they cannot finalize any deals until the league opens for business, something that is now expected on Dec. 9, Fox News reported.

According to Reuters:

The handshake agreement on a new collective bargaining deal between club owners and players that was reached Saturday was still to be ratified, but the machinery was in motion for an expected Christmas Day start-up that would include a Dallas-Miami rematch of last season's NBA Finals.

On Monday, NBA Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter sent players a memo explaining why he thinks the deal on the table is fair. "On average, under the last deal, the players received annual collective salary increases of $70 million per season,” he wrote, according to USA Today. “Under the new agreement, with modest BRI growth, even factoring in the collective salary decrease in 2011-12, the players will receive collective annual increases averaging at least $85 million each year over the term of the 10-year agreement.”

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