Jazz fans everywhere can take a sigh of relief. Finally.
After 149 long days, each one growing more stressful for NBA fans, it seems as though the players and owners have finally reached a deal.
It was announced Saturday that the two sides have reached a tentative agreement, and that the season will start on Christmas Day.
The two sides didn’t take much of a break over the holiday weekend. After meeting for more than 15 hours on Friday, the two sides shook hands on the proposed deal. However, the deal still needs to be ratified by both the owners and the players.
NBA commissioner David Stern said the deal was “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 Dec. 25.”
The NBA plans on having a 66 game season, which means only a loss of 16 games. Unless there are alterations to the current planned schedule for the games on Christmas Day, NBA fans will see three high profile matchups. The season will open with the Boston Celtics visiting the New York Knicks, the Miami heat will head to Dallas for an NBA Finals rematch, and then reigning MVP Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls will take on Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers who are now led by coach Mike Brown after the departure of Phil Jackson.
As for the Utah Jazz, their first opponent is not yet set. The NBA will work out a new schedule that will see each team play 48 conference games, and 18 non-conference games.
If the deal passes, training camp and free agency will begin on December 9.
For the deal to pass, each side needs a majority, for the owners 15 of 29 votes is required. The league owns the New Orleans Hornets. As for the players, a majority of the 430-plus members need to be in favor of the deal. However, after filing an antitrust lawsuit in Minnesota, the players must drop that lawsuit and re-form the union before they can vote.
“We’re very pleased we’ve come this far,” Stern said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done.”
The lockout started on July 1, and it seemed as though the two sides were only growing further apart. They battled over the division of revenue. In the tentative agreement, the players will see 51.2 percent of the revenue.
Owners said they lost hundreds of millions of dollars since the last collective bargaining agreement was ratified in 2005. Owners wanted a system where big-market teams wouldn’t have the ability to outspend the small market teams, like the Jazz, to get all the big name players.
Both sides seem to have made sacrifices to make this current deal possible.
As for the Jazz, and the state of Utah, I think everyone is ready to get back to basketball.