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Saturday, November 26, 2011
Lakers react to tentative labor agreement

By Dave McMenamin

At best it's caution. At worst it's skepticism.

Yes, the NBA's owners and its players trade association representatives agreed to a deal in principle early Saturday morning to put an end to the lockout on Day 149.

But despite a handshake agreement in place, there is still a plethora of details to determine and not every player is clamoring to rush back through their team's doors before finding out the whole story.

“It’s nice to hear that we are planning on getting back to work but there is still a lot of issues that need to be agreed upon,” said Luke Walton via text message on Saturday afternoon.

Walton took a break from coaching the 2-2 University of Memphis Tigers to consider what it would mean to come back to the Los Angeles Lakers for a shortened season beginning on Dec. 25.

Before he would offer a definitive opinion on the deal the players were accepting just more than a week after disbanding the union through disclaimer of interest and filing an antitrust lawsuit, he wanted to hear more.

As of Saturday afternoon, Walton still had not heard anything from the players side providing any information on the framework of the deal that was on the table or attempting to organize players for a league-wide vote on the current proposal.

Orlando Magic free agent guard Jason Richardson echoed Walton's concerns on Twitter.

"Glad lockout is almost over, but I hope each player read the fine print and make the right decision with their mind and not their heart...," Richardson wrote.

Another player I spoke to was even more cold to the idea of a fair deal being on the table, assuming that the players must have "caved" and waiting to see how the deal differs from the last offer the players turned down. Based on his disbelief that the deal could have improved drastically from the last offer the players had reviewed, his first instinct was to vote, "No," when it was brought to him and the rest of the league's 450 or so players for ratification.

Several of Walton's Lakers teammates did not respond to phone calls or text messages seeking their opinion on the lockout developments, but a few took to Twitter with their thoughts.

Pau Gasol (@PauGasol) "Good morning and good news! A tentative agreement has been reached and it seems we're starting on Xmas! #NBAisback #ILoveThisGame"

Andrew Bynum (@AndrewBynum) "Woke up to some great news! #17"

Matt Barnes (@Matt_Barnes22) "I think its time to #GOBACK2WORK!!! Thank god"

Devin Ebanks (@DevinEbanks3) "Nba is back, now IM back ... Can I get an amen!"

Derrick Caracter (@RebuildCaracter) "So long to u #back to work" (accompanied with Caracter's words was a photo of a golf driving range)

Joe Smith (@JoeBeast95) Smith is an unrestricted free agent and unlikely to be back with the Lakers. He did not tweet thoughts of his own, but retweeted at least 10 encouraging messages from Lakers fans.

While the league still might have some hoops to jump through before the 2011-12 season finally tips off, there was a fair amount of enthusiasm coming from the Lakers.

Bynum's mention of "#17" wasn't a reference to his uniform number, mind you. The Lakers have 16 championships in their franchise history and a third ring in four seasons in '11-12 would give them No. 17, tying L.A. with Boston for the all-time NBA lead.

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.