Yes, yes, yes it is over. Almost anyway. The NBA and the players union took it to the brink, both parties aware that they needed to make a deal thirty days before the start of the season and that to start after Christmas was untenable. After extracting an ocean of concessions and dropping a flotilla of threats on the players union, the owners backed off and agreed to less restrictive system changes and a higher than threatened upside on revenue percentages.
Perhaps everyone lost a little and everyone gained a little, but at least we know that we should be blessed with six years of basketball not polluted or diluted with business squabbles. That's a win for fans.
The articles about the end of the lockout are coming fast and furiously and I am reading a lot of them as I try to pull together a comprehensive analysis of the negotiation end-game that was a sport in and of itself. Without great detail on the CBA having been released to date, the quality of the analysis is all over the place. Perhaps the best talking heads analysis is on ESPN, although it is clear that the infotainment network is working overtime to resuscitate the ESPN/NBA billion dollar brand. The interlocking relationship between the NBA and ESPN leaves many wanting for real quality, balanced analysis. If that is what you need, consider starting your own network or check out the blogs and supplement your TV viewing with some reading.
Following are some of the best articles that I have read so far.
The NBA is back by Charlie Rosen at Hoopshype.com
First Look At The New Deal by Larry Coon at ESPN.com
How The NBA Got The Deal Done by Chris Sheridan at Sheridan Hoops