NBA, players reach tentative agreement on labor deal

MIAMI (AP) — The NBA and its players have agreed in principle on a new collective bargaining agreement, one that still needs to be formally ratified by players and owners in the coming weeks.

The league announced the tentative agreement Wednesday night, one day before the sides faced a deadline for opting out of the current deal.

That deadline for opting out has now been extended to Jan. 13, with the NBA saying that's "in order to give both sides enough time to review the terms of the agreement and vote to ratify."

Talks have gone on for weeks, and unlike those surrounding the most recent deal between the league and its players, these were mostly amicable. Most of the major issues — such as keeping the split of basketball-related income the same as it is in the existing deal — were agreed upon weeks ago.

Still, some issues needed to get ironed-out, including ones related to licensing and marketing. The sides considered extending the opt-out deadline even before coming to the tentative agreement, and now only the voting remains before labor peace is ensured for up to seven more years.

NBA officials and players expressed optimism throughout the process, pointing to the league's skyrocketing revenue and salaries — thanks to a massive new television deal — and rising TV ratings.

From the outset, these talks seemed much different than the unfriendly discourse that went on five years ago, when the league and its players were so far apart that the 2011-12 season wound up getting shortened from 82 games per team to 66. The players were locked out for 161 games, resulting in a shortened season and plenty of frustration.

"I think they will get to a decision that's good for everybody," Miami guard Goran Dragic said in recent weeks.

Other issues that are known to be addressed in this new proposed CBA include an earlier start to the season — to further trim back-to-backs and likely remove some preseason games — along with the league helping fund programs to help retired players with education and medical expenses.

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AP Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski in Minneapolis contributed to this report.

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