NBA lockout officially over

NBPA president and Lakers guard Derek Fisher speaks with the media outside the Louvell hotel in New...

NBPA president and Lakers guard Derek Fisher speaks with the media outside the Louvell hotel in New York, N.Y., Oct. 10, 2011. (EDUARDO MUNOZ/Reuters)

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, Last Updated: 12:46 AM ET

NEW YORK - The NBA lockout has officially ended.

Players and owners agreed to a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement Thursday, officially ending a prolonged lockout which began on July 1.

With the lockout lifted, training camps will open and free agency will begin Friday at 2 p.m. (ET). The regular season will commence December 25.

Owners ratified the 10-year pact, which allows both parties the option to opt out after the sixth year, by a 25-5 vote.

Fundamental agreement points were highlighted in an official statement from the NBA on Thursday.

An integral part of the agreement includes a 50-50 split of basketball-related income (BRI), although players can receive as high as 51% or as low as 49%, depending on BRI. They received 57% percent in the previous collective bargaining agreement.

A soft salary cap will remain in place and will be set for the 2011-12 season at $58.044 million, a tax level of $70.307 million and a minimum team salary of $46.435 million.

Maximum contracts lengths will be reduced by one year, from six years to five years for a team's own players and five years to four years for other players. Additionally, salaries in new player contracts may increase by up to 7.5 percent per year for a team's own players and 4.5 percent per year for other free agents.

Another key issue pertains to the luxury tax.

For the next two seasons, the tax rate is $1 for every $1 in salary over the tax level. The rate will increase after the 2012-13 season, though.

Beginning with the 2013-14 season, tax rates for incremental spending above the tax level will increase as follows: $0-5 million over tax level - $1.50 for $1; $5-10 million over tax level - $1.75 for $1; $10-15 million over tax level - $2.50 for $1; $15-20 million over tax level - $3.25 for $1. Rates increase by $0.50 for each additional $5 million above tax level.

Also clarified in the statement was the so-called amnesty rule, which permits each team to waive one of its player contracts that was in effect prior to the 2011-12 season and have 100 percent of the player's salary removed from the team's salary for Salary Cap and Tax purposes. The rule will be in effect for the first five years of the CBA, although each team may use the provision only once over the lifetime of the agreement.

The new pact also includes off-season drug testing and human growth hormone (HGH) testing once validated by a panel of scientific experts. Additionally, a committee will be formed by the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) to discuss the NBA Draft -- including Draft eligibility rules -- among other issues.

Thursday's announcement officially calls to end a five-plus month standoff, which saw the players file a disclaimer of interest and level a pair of lawsuits against the NBA before the sides reached a tentative agreement on November 26th.

The fallout: The NBA's 66th season will be of the shortened, 66-game variety.


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