NBA, players reach tentative deal

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NBA, players reach tentative deal

Christmas has come a few weeks early for NBA fans after the NBA and the players reached a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.

CBSsports.com was the first to report a tentative agreement had been reached.

After more than 15 hours of negotiating, which began Friday afternoon and didn't end until the wee hours of Saturday morning, NBA commissioner David Stern and Billy Hunter, who was executive director of the NBA Players Association before it dissolved into a trade association, emerged with the news that, pending a few dotted i's and t's crossed, the 2011-12 season would likely begin on Christmas Day.

Stern said training camp and free agency would both begin on Dec. 9.

While it's unclear how long this season will be, expect the league to trot out a 66-game schedule, beginning with the league's already scheduled Christmas Day games.

Among those will be the Boston Celtics playing at the New York Knicks.

Other Christmas Day games already scheduled include an NBA Finals rematch between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks. The third game will feature the Chicago Bulls and reigning league MVP Derrick Rose at the Los Angeles Lakers.

One of the biggest issues throughout negotiations has been how to split the basketball-related income. In the last CBA, players received a 57 percent cut.

In the new CBA, a league source said Saturday morning that the players are looking at a 49-51 percent share, with the numbers working out now to peak closer to 51 percent than the previous 49-51 split the owners proposed earlier.

The lawsuits filed by the NBA and the players must also be ironed prior to a new CBA becoming official.

Talks broke off on Nov. 14, with the NBAPA filing a "disclaimer of interest" that dissolved the union and opened the floodgates for potential anti-trust lawsuits on behalf of the players.

There were two filed in Northern California and Minnesota, respectively.

However, the lawsuit in California was withdrawn.

Both sides agreed to resume talks this week, which culminated with Saturday morning's tentative agreement.

First Celtics practice 'a little different' but 'feels right' for Horford

First Celtics practice 'a little different' but 'feels right' for Horford

WALTHAM, Mass. – NBA players are creatures of habit so you can understand why Al Horford was just a little bit out of his element on his first practice with the Boston Celtics.
 
After nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Horford hit the free agent market this summer and signed a four-year, $113 million with the Celtics.
 
Horford acknowledged that his first practice with the Celtics “was a little different” but added, “It’s definitely a weird feeling, but it feels right to be here.”

Players, coaches, national pundits, the list is seemingly endless when it comes to folks who believe Horford is an ideal fit with the Boston Celtics.
 
“He can do score in the paint, shoot 3s, defend, pass, he can do it all out there,” Amir Johnson told CSNNE.com. “He’s going to fit in well with us.”
 
But like any rookie or newcomer to a team, Horford admitted he had some moments when he was a step or two late getting to where he needed to be on the floor.
 
“We’re running through a lot of plays, a lot of concepts being thrown out,” Horford said. “It’s a matter of getting comfortable with all the sets.”
 
As much as he will work to figure things out, Horford is wise enough to know he’ll need the help of his new teammates, too.
 
“I’m going to lean on a lot of the guys,” Horford said. “I’ll definitely ask a lot of questions. Avery (Bradley) already has gotten in my ear, anything I need he’s there for me. I just want to get acclimated as fast as I can.”
 
Horford also said that head coach Brad Stevens has been extremely helpful in assisting him in speeding up his learning curve.
 
“Coach (Stevens) is very sharp, very . . .  he explains things well,” Horford said. “He explains things well. He wants practice to move along. The pace of practice, definitely a faster pace.”
 
But you won’t find Horford complaining.
 
Horford is clearly excited about starting this new chapter in his basketball career.
 
“For me it’s more of a relief, finally being here in Boston, house, being settled,” Horford said. “Now we can just focus on the season.”