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New CBA officially ratified

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Calling it a "new beginning in a way," commissioner David Stern announced that owners and players ratified a new collective bargaining agreement Thursday, the final step to ending the five-month lockout and paving the way for training camps and free agency to open Friday. The 10-year deal promises owners savings of perhaps a quarter billion dollars a year but largely leaves intact the soft salary cap system that the players fought hard to maintain. Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver announced the deal during a news conference, putting an end to nearly two years of difficult negotiations that resulted in the second shortened season in NBA history. A 66-game schedule will begin on Christmas and run through April 26, forcing every team to play on three straight nights at least once. Owners approved the deal, which allows either side to opt out after six years, by a 25-5 vote. The players' association said 86 percent of the more than 200 players who voted electronically approved the deal. From ESPN

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