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NBA Lockout: A look at what lies beyond Saturday's tentative agreement

WHAT'S NEXT — There's still court appearances, a re-certification and votes by both sides ahead before the NBA can get back to playing basketball.
By JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, Published: November 26, 2011

Saturday's tentative agreement between NBA players and owners is the first in a series of events that must occur in order for the 2011-12 season to start by Christmas Day.

Here is a step-by-step of what lies ahead:

* Negotiators brief their own constituents. NBA commissioner David Stern had a conference call with the Labor Relations Committee on Saturday, while National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter spoke with plaintiffs in the players' federal lawsuits to discuss the tentative settlement.

* Players' antitrust attorney David Boies will ask the Minnesota court to dismiss the union's lawsuit early this week. The league also will request the dismissal of the federal lawsuit they filed in New York earlier this year.

* Before players can officially negotiate the new CBA, they must re-certify as a union. This would require a vote, but is expected to be nothing more than a formality given all the steps previously taken to reach this point.

* The newly constructed players' union and the league's Board of Governors must resolve numerous "B-List" issues, which include items such as the rookie salary scale, minimum age requirement, player discipline, the NBA Draft, drug testing and developmental league assignments. Players gave the league a six-page list of unresolved issues during a negotiating session earlier this month.

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Key points to the tentative agreement to end the NBA lockout

NBA owners and players have reached a tentative agreement to end the 149-day lockout and plan to begin the delayed season on Christmas Day.

Here are some highlights:

* The deal: Largely completed around 3 a.m. EST Saturday, then announced. More details still must be tackled including dismissing all pending lawsuits, making the National Basketball Players Association an actual union again and voting by both the players and owners to ratify the agreement.

Key dates: Dec. 9 (free agency opens, camps open), Dec. 25 (games begin).

Owners' biggest win: Reducing the players' guarantee of basketball-related income to no higher than 51 percent after they received 57 percent under the previous collective bargaining agreement. With each BRI point worth about $40 million based on last season's revenues, that's a swing of at least $240 million annually, erasing most of what owners said were $300 million in losses last season.

Owners' biggest loss: The NFL style hard cap and non-guaranteed contracts they sought. The system is in fact similar to the old one, just with harsher luxury tax penalties to limit spending.

Players' biggest win: The preservation of the midlevel exception — though in a reduced form — and various trade rules for teams over the luxury tax, keeping the biggest market teams in the running to bid for them, even if they can't pay as much as they used to.

Players' biggest loss: Money. They're transferring more than $1 billion in salary and benefits to owners in the first six years of the deal.

What's next: Look for talks early this week on a preseason schedule, the dismissal or settlement of pending lawsuits, then movement toward getting the entire CBA written.

The Associated Press


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