The literal sense of the word lockout is about to finally come to an end. NBA teams can re-open their facilities to their players starting Thursday.
League spokesman Tim Frank stated that players will once again have access to team practice facilities for the first time since the lockout began on July 1.
According to ESPN the league also sent a memo to each NBA club on Tuesday announcing the decision, as well as giving teams permission to once again begin speaking with agents at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. However, no deals can be offered to any players, and no contracts can be signed before Dec. 9.
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The lockout isn’t officially over until the NBPA votes to pass the new agreement and reform the union. Since the union disbanded earlier this month they need to vote to accept the deal as well as reform the NBPA before the season can officially be considered saved.
The NBPA needs to have 260 signed cards from players in favor of reforming the union by Thursday night or it cannot continue to work on a new labor agreement with the league, sources close to the situation told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.
Unless the NBPA can get the 260 votes they need teams will be unable to ratify a new CBA and unable to sign players and negotiate with free agents. Players received their cards on Tuesday.
As for the antitrust lawsuits pending against the NBA by the players, it is expected that a settlement will be reached since the two sides reached a tentative agreement to end the lockout on Saturday.