"All I feel right now is 'finally'" said a borderline speechless Dwyane Wade. Barring something crazy, the league plans on opening training camp on December 9th and kicking off a 66-game schedule Christmas Day with the Boston Celtics at New York Knicks, the Miami Heat at Dallas Mavericks, and the Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Lakers.
A majority on each side is needed to approve the agreement. The NBA needs votes from 15 of 29 owners. (The league owns the New Orleans Hornets.) Stern said the labor committee plans to discuss the agreement later Saturday and expects them to endorse it and recommend to the full board.
The union needs a simple majority of its 430-plus members. That process is a bit more complicated after the players dissolved the union Nov. 14. Now, they must drop their antitrust lawsuit in Minnesota and reform the union before voting on the deal.
Because the union disbanded, a new collective bargaining agreement can only be completed once the union has reformed. Drug testing and other issues still must be negotiated between the league and the players.
"We're very pleased we've come this far," Stern said. "There's still a lot of work to be done."
Ever the optimist, Stern—almost two weeks after ushering in the NBA's nuclear winter—noted 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."