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NBA Players Re-Form Union, Continuing Move Toward New Contract

National Basketball Association players voted to re-form their union, allowing the group to begin final negotiations with the league on a new labor deal.

More than 300 of the approximately 450 NBA players sent in cards re-authorizing the National Basketball Players Association to handle collective bargaining, union spokesman Dan Wasserman said yesterday.

The NBA and its players agreed in principle on a new deal on Nov. 26, setting up a process by which a five-month-old lockout would end. Ratifying an agreement will allow training camps and free agency to begin on Dec. 9 and an abbreviated 66-game season to start on Dec. 25.

Among the first steps was for the NBPA, which dissolved on Nov. 14 prior to the filing of antitrust lawsuits against the league, to re-form so that it could serve as the collective bargaining representative with the NBA. Re-forming required a majority vote of the NBPA’s players.

The two sides can now begin addressing settlement terms as well as secondary issues such as drug testing, the NBA commissioner’s disciplinary powers and workplace rules.

Team facilities are open for player workouts as of today. Conditioning and weight training may only be supervised by athletic trainers and strength coaches, and no staff members may oversee on-court activity until the deal is completed.

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