National Basketball Association player agents may now discuss deals with teams and clubs can begin hosting workouts tomorrow as the finishing touches are applied to a new labor agreement.
Teams cannot yet enter into verbal or written agreements on player contracts, according to a memo sent to the agents, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News.
The NBA, which locked its players out 153 days ago after the previous collective bargaining agreement expired, will allow teams to open their facilities to players for workouts beginning tomorrow, Tim Frank, an NBA spokesman, confirmed in an e-mail. The conditioning and weight training may only be overseen by athletic trainers and strength coaches, and no staff members may oversee on-court activity, Frank said.
Training camps are expected to open Dec. 9 and an abbreviated 66-game season is set to begin Dec. 25 after the league and National Basketball Players Association agreed on the framework of a labor agreement four days ago. Completion of the deal, which requires the NBPA to re-form as a union and both the players and owners to ratify the package, also would settle multiple lawsuits between the two sides.
Among the unrestricted free agents on the market are Tyson Chandler, David West, Shane Battier, Kris Humphries, Caron Butler, Nene, Jason Richardson and Glen Davis. All-Stars Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets and Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic both will be free agents after the 2011-12 season, meaning their teams could look to work trades prior to then if they feel they can’t be re-signed.