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“…Subject to a variety of approvals and very complex machinations, but we’re optimistic that will all come to pass and that the NBA season will begin Dec. 25.”

David Stern said the magic words that will give NBA fans basketball on Christmas. The league plans a 66 game season beginning on Christmas Day. Maybe all those letters to Santa saying all I want for Christmas is the NBA worked.

While the deal has yet to be approved by the players, at least this time level heads prevailed. It will be viewed by most as a victory for the players’ union’s tactic, but if you look at what little details have been released, it sure appears the owners won a significant victory.

According to TNT’s David Aldridge here are the particulars:

  1. A shortened 66 game season
  2. A 49-51 split of BRI in favor of the players
  3. Full Mid-Level Exception for all non-tax paying teams (four years starting at $5 million)
  4. 10% maximum on escrow withholdings
  5. Extend and trade deals modified but maintained.
  6. A compromise on “Repeater” Tax
  7. New benefits for players (1% BRI for retired players)
  8. Match period on restricted free agents reduced from 7 days to 3 days
The one dark cloud over the agreement is the statement that the NBA Players Union will be reforming. It was hoped by some, including players like DeShawn Stevenson, that the leadership exhibited during the lockout would be replaced. Now, everyone must wait for the court cases to be dropped, the union to be reformed, and then the players can vote on the proposal.
A quick survey of tweets suggests the majority of players don’t care about the particulars of the deal. They just want to get back to playing. With so little known about the details of the deal, that is optimistic.
The real losers are the players who signed contracts overseas without options to return to the NBA this season. The NBA agents, who interjected the biggest cloud of uncertainty over negotiations, have not spoken up about the deal so their reaction can’t be judged yet.
And what about the Grizzlies? Well, the new rules put a premium on player development selections. Draft picks and appropriate free agent signings will take on greater emphasis. Chris Wallace is considered one of the brightest minds in this regard. However, the team’s lack of a scouting department puts a dark cloud on the future.
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