According to multiple reports, the NBA's players and owners reached a tentative agreement to end the 149-day lockout in the wee hours of Saturday morning, saving the 2011/12 NBA season. League commissioner David Stern said training camps and the free-agent period would begin on December 9th, with a 66-game regular season beginning on December 25th.
Henry Abbott of TrueHoop notes that Players Union director Billy Hunter has yet to divulge specifics of the deal to the public, as he first wants to ensure the players fully understand what it means. However, it appears as though players can at least be pleased that teams can still spend freely--the new agreement does not include a hard salary cap--and that each team will have some form of the mid-level exception at its disposal every year.
After the jump, a look at what the end of the lockout means for the Orlando Magic:
Dwight Howard has yet to play his last game in pinstripes. Orlando will have a 66-game opportunity to prove to the free-agent-to-be that he can win with it if he re-signs.
Orlando will host the 2012 NBA All-Star Game as scheduled. The 2012 contest is just the second in franchise history and the first held at Amway Center. The first All-Star Game in Orlando, in 1992, did not feature any Magic players; it was held a year before Shaquille O'Neal's rookie season. Thus, Orlando fans will have the opportunity to cheer one of their own in an All-Star Game.
Justin Harper can play his rookie season with the Magic. The combo forward can opt out of his contract with Strasbourg IG and join Orlando, which sent two future second-round draft picks to the Cleveland Cavaliers in June to acquire the former Richmond Spider's draft rights. The lanky combo forward signed with Strasbourg, which plays in the highest division of France's Ligue Nationale de Basketball, in August in order to earn a living during the NBA work stoppage.
Orlando's free agents include starting shooting guard Jason Richardson, 10th-man Earl Clark, and little-used emergency big man Malik Allen. When camp opens December 9th, Amway Center's practice court will be almost as full as usual.