Players confident deal will pass

Updated: November 29, 2011, 5:02 PM ET
By Ramona Shelburne | ESPNLosAngeles.com

INGLEWOOD -- Not many of the NBA players who gathered Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles to play in a charity game hosted by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Baron Davis had gone over the details of the new collective bargaining agreement the NBPA and NBA owners tentatively agreed to this week.

The league and the players association are still negotiating secondary issues and the players union still needs to reform and put the new CBA to a vote among union members.

But unlike in the NFL, where there was a last minute panic amongst players over the finer print in the deal, no one seemed particularly concerned that this deal could fall apart.

"I think for them to bring it to a vote, they definitely met some things we were asking for," Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes said. "For us to even to come to a vote, because last time we weren't even close to having a vote. For us to come to a vote, it's close to as good as it's gonna get. So let's just go out there and play."

The NBA will begin a 66-game season with a triple-header on December 25. Training camps are tentatively set to open December 9.

Toronto Raptors forward DeMar DeRozan said he's optimistic the new deal will pass and that schedule will hold.

"I think it's gonna get done," DeRozan said. "I think we went through a lot of ups and downs (to get) this far. I think everybody will accept this deal and we'll get back to work.

"We didn't necessarily get everything we want, but that's how it was gonna end. We wasn't get everything, they wasn't gonna get everything. So everybody just had to come to a compromise."

Oklahoma City guard James Harden said he was surprised the deal got done so quickly but is relieved the lockout should end soon.

"I feel like I just got drafted again," Harden said. "I'm just excited. It's a sigh of relief and now it's time to get to work."

Barnes, who'd been keeping up on the negotiations through regular contact with his teammate, NBPA president Derek Fisher, said he didn't think the season would start until mid-to-late January.

"I got a call from reporter like at midnight, and I was like 'Huh?'" I was very surprised," Barnes said. "I had just golfed with Fish last week, and he was saying mid-January, late January, if anything. So to get the call and hear that we had come to a tentative agreement, I was excited."

The players are widely-viewed as having given up significantly more than the owners during these negotiations. Their share of basketball related income will go from 57 percent, under the old CBA, to 49-51 percent. The players also compromised on several significant "system issues," which will affect player movement via free agency.

"It's tough," Barnes said, when asked if the lockout was worth it for either side. "Everything wasn't met, but I think it's as good as it's going to get for us. I'm definitely glad we took a stand.

"I wish we didn't have to miss so much time, I wish everything could have started a little bit earlier in the summer so we could have fought and still had a full season, but 66 games is going to have to do."

Ramona Shelburne is a reporter and columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com. ESPNLosAngeles.com's Brian and Andy Kamenetzky contributed to this report.

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