Tuesday, June 21

Shocker! Union, Owners avoid lockout

NBA commish David Stern

In the most shocking turn of events since the Michael Jackson verdict, NBA owners and the Player's Union agreed to terms on a new six-year collective bargaining agreement today:
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- A one-year increase in the minimum age to be eligible to play in the NBA was part of a new six-year collective bargaining tentatively agreed to Tuesday by owners and players, averting the possibility of a lockout.

Commissioner David Stern and union director Billy Hunter flew to the NBA Finals from New York and announced the agreement prior to Game 6 between San Antonio and Detroit. The deal came on the fourth consecutive day of talks between the sides to replace the seven-year pact that expires June 30.

``We're gratified that we were able to avoid a work stoppage,'' Stern said. ``This agreement creates a strong partnership with our players, which is essential for us.''

The sides reached agreement on several key issues that had held up a settlement since serious talks began in late February. Among them were a one-year increase in the minimum age for draft eligibility, a reduction in the maximum length of long-term contracts from seven years to six, and reductions in the size of annual salary increases in those long-term contracts from a maximum of 12 1/2 percent to 10 1/2 percent.

Read the rest here.

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