NEW YORK -- NBA players and owners on Thursday approved a new collective bargaining agreement, formally ending the five-month lockout and paving the way for training camps and an already rampaging free-agency period to open.
The players voted via email from 6 p.m. ET Wednesday until 4 p.m. Thursday and the deal was approved by 86 percent of the more than 200 players who participated -- less than half the union membership. The owners' Board of Governors, with representatives from all 30 teams, approved the deal at a meeting Thursday in Manhattan by a vote of 25-5, commissioner David Stern said.
As a result, the lockout will be lifted, training camps will open as scheduled, and the free-agent and trading period officially will begin at 2 p.m. ET, sources said. The league will begin a 66-game regular season, the second season shortened due to a labor dispute in NBA history, on Christmas Day.
Also on Thursday, owners finalized their new revenue sharing plan by which big-market teams -- particularly the Knicks and Lakers -- are expected to kick in a substantial portion of what will be at least a quadrupling of the previous revenue-sharing pool. According to executives familiar with the details of the plan before it was finalized, the league was expected to incorporate some new sources of revenue that would be shared. Of paramount importance to small- and mid-market teams, market size was expected to be considered as much as or more than a team's financial performance in a given year, sources said.