Deal still not quite done

Is the tentative labor agreement a done deal?

It could fall apart, but that's unlikely. Commissioner David Stern is confident a majority of owners and players will approve it. But the lawsuits must be dealt with and the union reformed before the deal can be ratified and the lockout can end. Also, some secondary issues still must be settled, and the actual agreement has to be written.

What happened to get this deal done?

As one person involved in the talks told the Associated Press, "sanity prevailed." Owners were losing money. Players were losing money. Fans were getting angry. Because Christmas is traditionally the day when the public starts paying attention, there was a late push to salvage those games, including a Finals rematch between Dallas and Miami.

Who won?

The owners but not by as much as it initially seemed they would. Players will get between 49 and 51 percent of basketball-related income, a decrease from the 57 percent at the end of the last deal. But owners made concessions related to player movement.

How will the schedule work?

The league released a general plan Sunday. The 66-game regular season would end about 10 days later than usual, and the last possible day of the Finals would be June 26, two weeks later than last season. Teams would play 48 games within their conference and 18 non-conference games. No team would play on three consecutive nights more than three times.

What about the players who signed overseas? Can they come home?

In most cases, yes. Nets guard Deron Williams tweeted Saturday he would soon leave his Turkish club. Some who signed with Chinese clubs might have to work a bit harder (or pay) to leave.

Does the deal make it easier for the Magic to keep star center Dwight Howard?

It appears the Magic will get no significant help. According to SI.com, there is no NFL-style franchise tag that could be applied to Howard, who can become a free agent after this season. The Magic still can pay him more money over a longer period than other teams. But according to reports, owners dropped their demand that would have forbidden extend-and-trade deals such as the one that sent Carmelo Anthony from Denver to New York.

Will there be refunds for people who've already purchased tickets?

Magic ticket-holders can get refunds for canceled games or get credit toward future ticket or food/beverage purchases.

Information from the Orlando Sentinel contributed to this report.

.FAST FACTS

The plan

If the labor deal is approved by players and owners, the NBA plans to start a 66-game schedule on Christmas Day. Other key dates:

Dec. 9: Training camps open

Dec. 9: Free agency begins

Deal still not quite done 11/27/11 [Last modified: Sunday, November 27, 2011 9:48pm]

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