Early this morning, NBA fans received their first Christmas gift: a tentative agreement to end the 149-day lockout.
One final, 15-hour marathon negotiating session brought together the final elements of a new collective bargaining agreement that fans have been yearning for since owners locked out the players July 1.
The deal will allow the league to begin its season on Christmas Day, with the season’s first tipoff to take place at Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks will play the Celtics at noon.
That game is part of a cross-country tripleheader that will include Miami at Dallas in an NBA Finals rematch before MVP Derrick Rose and Chicago close the day by facing off against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
“Well, we’ve reached a tentative understanding that is 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 on Dec. 25,” Stern said at a press conference that began at 3:40 a.m. Saturday.