27 Nov 2011

New NBA season likely to start on Christmas Day

9:17 am on 27 November 2011

It looks like it'll be a Happy Christmas for fans of US basketball's NBA after all, with owners and players reaching a tentative deal to end the lockout and open a shortened season on Christmas Day.

NBA commissioner David Stern says the two parties have reached a tentative understanding that is subject to a variety of approvals and very complex machinations, following a 13-hour negotiating session.

Stern says the deal will be discussed with the owners' labour relations committee before being passed on to the overall Board of Governors though he expects both bodies to approve the settlement.

The deal calls for training camps and free agency to begin simultaneously on December 10th and the league to have a 66-game schedule, 16 games fewer than a complete season.

The players disbanded their union in an effort to file a variety of lawsuits against the league. It could take up to 10 days for the players to re-form their union and ratify a formal labour deal.