NBA owners and players tentatively agreed on an early Saturday to end the 149-day lockout and hope to begin the delayed season on Christmas Day.
A meeting between the sides was held for 15 hours Friday to save the season. However, the deal needs to be ratified first by the owners and players.
Commissioner David Stern said that the deal needs to undergo a lot of approval but they are hoping to start the season this December 25.
Barring a change in scheduling, the 2011-12 season will open with the Boston Celtics at New York Knicks, followed by Miami at Dallas in an NBA finals rematch before MVP Derrick Rose and Chicago close the tripleheader against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
A 66-game season was planned by the league and they mean to start training on December 9, with free agency opening at the same time.
A majority on each side is needed to approve the agreement. The NBA needs votes from 15 of 29 owners. (The league owns the New Orleans Hornets.) Stern said the labor committee plans to discuss the agreement later Saturday and expects them to endorse it and recommend to the full board.
The union needs a simple majority of its 430-plus members. That process is a bit more complicated after the players dissolved the union Nov. 14. Now, they must drop their antitrust lawsuit in Minnesota and reform the union before voting on the deal.
The settlement first was reported by CBSSports.com.