LOS ANGELES, California, November 28 – With the NBA apparently headed for a Christmas tip-off, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and other stars scrapped a four-game charity tour planned to keep them busy during the lockout.
The “Homecoming Tour” was to open in James’ hometown of Akron, Ohio, on December 1.
But the stars changed gears after Saturday’s announcement that the league and its players had reached a “tentative agreement” to end the lockout, hopefully in time for training camps to open on December 9 and a shortened season to start on December 25.
“We are thrilled that a tentative agreement has been reached and are looking forward to getting back to work and playing basketball,” Wade said in a statement.
“We all want to reconnect with our teams to make sure we hit the ground running when training camps are expected to open on December 9.
“Our commitment to helping children and the communities doesn’t stop, and the daily work of our foundations to do just this will continue, as always.”
James and Wade, along with Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, had lined up games in Akron, New Orleans, Chicago and East Rutherford, New Jersey, all to benefit their charitable foundations.
NBA owners and players, and their lawyers, still have plenty of work to do in the coming days to bring the lockout to an official close and get a shortened, 66-game season underway.
The “tentative understanding” reached after a marathon 15-hour meeting this weekend must be put in writing, with myriad details spelled out, and both sides must vote on it.
Players, who disbanded their union after negotiations broke down on November 14 and filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the league, must withdraw their legal action and reconstitute their union before they can vote on any deal.
Team owners locked out players on July 1, citing $300 million in losses last season among 22 of the NBA’s 30 clubs.
Players, who made 57 percent of basketball-related income under the old deal, are now slated to get between 49 and 51 percent, depending on league revenues.
Each basketball-related income point is worth about $40 million based on last season’s revenues, a swing of at least $240 million annually and a big monetary loss for players over the 10-year life of the proposed deal.
However, owners didn’t get a hard salary cap, just more stringent luxury tax penalties to limit spending.
As moves to formalize the agreement go on, the NBA must come up with a revised schedule for the pre-season, regular season and playoffs, with US media reporting the NBA All-Star game exhibition in February will remain a highlight of the calendar.