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NBA owners, players reach tentative agreement to end lockout

A bitter 149-NBA lockout is almost over, and the league is about to open its doors for business.

Representatives for owners and players early Saturday settled upon the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) during a 15-hour small-group meeting in New York.

A majority of owners must still approve the deal, while the dissolved National Basketball Players Association (NPBA) must reform and also pass the CBA by a majority vote. If both sides greenlight the agreement, a 66-game season will start Dec. 25, while training camps and free agency for the 2011-12 campaign would begin Dec. 9. Pending lawsuits would in turn be dismissed.

'We want to play basketball," NBA Commissioner David Stern said.

The league's schedule will be reset, the regular season will end a week late and the Finals will also be pushed back a week. However, the NBA is still expected to play its annual All-Star game in Orlando and a yet-to-be-announced Christmas Day tripleheader will tip off the long-stalled season.

"We thought it was in both of our interest to try to reach a resolution and save the game," said Billy Hunter, former executive director of the NBPA.

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