November 25, 2020

NBA owners, players approve new labour deal

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NBA Commissioner David Stern, right, smiles during a news conference alongside Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver following a day of meetings that ended with the ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, in New York. The new 10-year deal was the final step to ending the five-month lockout and paved the way for training camps and free agency to open Friday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

NEW YORK (AP) — David Stern had three deals to consider, all promising significant changes to the NBA.

A new collective bargaining agreement, saving owners more than $1 billion in player salary costs?

Definitely.

An expanded revenue sharing plan that would perhaps quadruple the money shared by teams?

Of course.

A trade that would send Chris Paul from the league-owned, small-market Hornets to the Los Angeles Lakers?

Absolutely not.

Stern announced the ratification of the deal that ends the lockout, but shortly afterward the league had to deny reports that he was pressured by owners into rejecting a previously agreed upon trade that would have put Paul in the same backcourt as Kobe Bryant.

“It’s not true that the owners killed the deal, the deal was never discussed at the Board of Governors meeting and the league office declined to make the trade for basketball reasons,” league spokesman Mike Bass said.

So Paul stays in New Orleans — for now — but that does little to calm fans in small markets such as New Orleans and Orlando who worry about losing their superstars. In time, Stern said, the “tortured journey” of this 161-day lockout will have been worth it.

“We think it’s a very good deal, and it’s going to withstand the test of time,” he said.

Thus ends the lockout, with training camps and free agency to open Friday. But not before one more chaotic day in this wacky offseason that guarantees the status quo remains for now.

Besides an expanded revenue sharing program, Stern said teams and fans will see an improved league in coming years.

“It’s a new beginning in a way,” he said. “It’s going to take a couple of years to work its way out, but we’re very excited about its prospects.”

 

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