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However, the lawsuit in California was withdrawn.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.