NBA Lockout Ends As Players, Owners Ratify

The NBA Board of Governors on Thursday ratified a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement, clearing the way for the official end of the 2011 lockout. Commissioner David Stern told reporters that the owners voted 25-5 to approve the deal.

Earlier on Thursday, players had ratified the deal by a wide margin, though fewer than half of the union membership elected to vote.

The ratification clears the way for free agency to officially begin at 2 p.m. ET on Friday. Chortles are encouraged, given that half the league has been reported to have handshake deals with specific dollar amounts attached with free agents already, and trades -- including one for a certain Chris Paul -- have already been agreed to.

Training camps will also open on Friday. Preseason games begin in a little over a week. Basketball is back, everybody. Embrace a fan near you and enjoy. (Enjoy it a little more if you're a fan of the L.A. Lakers.)

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