It appears the NBA lockout is over. A tentative deal was reached early Saturday morning that will likely pave the way for Thunder basketball.
Players and owners worked into the wee hours Saturday morning finally coming to the tentative agreement around 2:30 a.m. after 15 straight hours of negotiations.
Commissioner David Stern says the two sides have reached a "tentative understanding that is subject to a variety of approvals and very complex machinations."
Stern says the new 66-game season could now begin on Christmas day with a triple header.
The deal still has to be officially approved by both owners and players, but signs look good, according to Commissioner Stern.
"We expect our labor relations committee to endorse this deal, this tentative agreement, and we expect our board of governors – at a meeting we will call after that – to endorse the deal," Stern said. "And we expect that a collective bargaining agreement will arise out of this deal, as well."
Under the tentative agreement training camps and free agency could begin Dec. 9 with the regular 66-game season beginning with a triple header on Christmas day.
The agreement is for 10 years and the basketball related income will be split with 51 percent going to the players and 49 percent to the owners.
The lockout, which began on July 1, has stopped nearly two months of NBA basketball, but because both sides made one last marathon attempt to reach an agreement only about 14 games per team will be lost.
The new agreement will also most likely move all playoff games as well as the finals back one week.
A majority on each side is needed to ratify the new agreement. The NBA needs votes from 15 of 29 owners. The union needs a simple majority of its 430-plus members.