It took a 15-hour session pitched between the NBA and player representatives in New York that spilled over from Friday into early Saturday morning. It took nearly half a year, from pre-Draft negotiations in early summer spread nearly into the precipice of a chilly East Coast winter. But it's over. Good god almighty it's over. The NBA and its players have come to a tentative agreement, and the NBA lockout is over.
Details are scarce at this point, though ardent followers of this mess no doubt have an idea of where both sides stand a week from December, but one can certainly conclude that the NBA will begin playing basketball on Christmas Day, embarking on a 66-game season.
How the league's makeup, the way teams put together rosters and attempt to secure consistent revenue streams, remains to be seen. The reaction of the fans, alienated by a work stoppage in the midst of one of the worst global economic crisis of the last century, is easier to anticipate. Still, nearly all of that is washed away because of the promise of actual NBA basketball, set to tip off about a month from now.
From here, and in the comments section, you're right to rant about the needless, enervating mess that was this labor negotiation between the NBA and its players.
You're right to rave, though, as well. You're correct in picking fights with Celtics fans, or pointing out that Kobe was swept out of the playoffs last May. Point to the Mavericks' tired legs, the fact that Chicago can't shoot, or the idea that Miami is "Hollywood as hell."
For once, though, you're going to get to talk about basketball with an endgame in mind. We, as fans, barely got to do that even in the heat of a spectacular 2010-11 season because of the uncertainty of the long-anticipated lockout. And though we won't know which free agent is going where and under what financial terms for a few days; we do have basketball to prepare for. If you're not giddy at this point, even after being let down too many times to count, then I don't even know why you're on this site.
This is where we come in. Follow Ball Don't Lie, and the menschs that supply us with the honest-to-goodness reporting at Yahoo! Sports, for whatever follows.
For the first time in half a year, cats and kittens, we've got something to follow. Our long, needless nightmare is over. React accordingly.