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It seems we have another thing to be thankful for this year following the Thanksgiving holiday! For those of you NBA fans such as myself that were in mild depression over the fate of the NBA season, fret no more because the NBA returns on Christmas Day for a 66-game season! Commissioner David Stern announced this past weekend a tentative labor agreement between the NBA and Players Representatives that will bring an end to the 149-day lockout.

As we all know, the owners and players have been in a tug of war for the last couple of weeks regarding the NBA’s economic system and other issues. The initial deal proposed of a 50/50 split was shot down by players countless times even causing a recent anti-trust lawsuit to move mediation to the courtroom in front of a judge. However, a Thanksgiving miracle happened over the weekend and the players agreed to the 50/50 split!

So What Really Happened?

By now you’re probably anxious to know what’s included within this new contract. The NBA players succeeded and won on issues such as mid-level exception, minimum team salary, and escrow. Under the mid level exception agreement it will allow teams to exceed salary caps to sign multiple free agents instead of offering low-end contracts. Other than that,  as we all predicted, the owners pretty much won this battle! The biggest battle of all was the BRI which previously allowed players to earn as much as 57% of revenue, which was more than the actual owners. The old deal caused owners to lose as much as $300 million last season. With the new deal in place, players  will see 51.15% in the 2011-2012 season and as low as 49/51 split in the coming seasons (1 percent contributing to a post-career fund for retired players). This deal will allow owners to earn almost every penny lost back over a 10 year period. Regardless of the facts, the players did not go out all smiles in this deal as they will be making less money.

What Will The Season Look Like?

It will be a very odd season indeed since 15 games have already been canceled  leaving fans with only 66-games to watch. More than likely, we’ll see a lot of games being played back to back during the regular season and even in the playoffs. For the average NBA fan this will be a gift and a curse. The gift is you’ll be able to see your favorite teams play more often than normal, the curse is it could tire out the players.

Either way, I’m happy that my beloved NBA season will return and more importantly, Orlando will see a All-Star weekend! Leave us your thoughts and favorite team in the comments below!

To view a full breakdown of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, check out ESPN.

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