The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

NBA Season Saved?

By Tim Bearden in News on Nov 26, 2011 8:00PM

After a 149-day lockout, fans had come to terms with the possibility of no basketball season, but now NBA Commissioner David Stern, union executive director Billy Hunter and players union President Derek Fisher are confident the season may be saved after the league and players reached a tentative agreement at 3:30 a.m. Saturday. The supposedly revived season is tentatively scheduled to begin Dec. 25 with a triple-header, including an NBA finals re-match between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat.

It is not set in stone, though, and the players and owners still need to vote on the agreement for the proposed 66-game season. But Stern and Hunter are both confident the season will happen. The league and players association held a press conference shortly after the tentative agreement was reached after a 15-hour negotiation session at a Manhattan law-firm.

"We're confident that once we present it, [the players] will support it," Hunter told ESPN.

The players union disbanded on Nov. 14 following a rejection of the ultimatum issued by Stern, leaving fans thinking a season was out of the question. The players filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the league, which is said to be recalled now that a tentative agreement has been made.

This is the closest the NBA has come to not having a season in league history. Major details of the deal were not announced at the press conference early this morning, but under the proposed agreement the players should be able to achieve the 51 percent basketball-related income they were vying for.

Fisher, union rep and Lakers point guard, believes this deal is going to be accepted by the players union once it re-groups from its disbanding. A majority vote from their 430-member union is necessary to finalize the deal. Officials are confident once the union drops the anti-trust lawsuit, re-convenes and votes, a deal could be finalized within the week.

"The lawyers will handle a lot of the heavy lifting," union president Derek Fisher said. "For myself, it's great to be a part of this particular moment in terms of giving our fans what it is that they so badly wanted and want to see." ">Dwayne Wade of Miami even breathed a sigh of relief, according to the Associated Press. "All I feel right now is 'finally,'" Wade told the AP.

Stern, being the dramatic that he is, called the lockout a "nuclear winter" for the NBA following the rejection of the previous agreement. The nuclear winter became more a Cold War between the union and the league and they asked Mr. Stern to "tear down that wall." Speaking through an anti-trust lawsuit, that is.

Stern probably realized a cancelled season would result in losing fans, a setback the MLB suffered following their strike in the late 90s. Former NBPA counsel Jim Quinn set the stage with his back channel work. Quinn did most of the work last week renewing negotiations on Tuesday, although he was not at the final negotiations on Friday. The owners still have to vote on the agreement and 15 of 29 must be in favor of the proposal to end the lockout and save the season.