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Excitement as end of lockout looms

Excitement as end of lockout looms
By Reuters

27/11/2011 at 07:14Updated 27/11/2011 at 07:16

Players reacted with excitement and caution as word circulated on Saturday that National Basketball Association owners were ready to lift the lockout after reaching a tentative deal to end a bitter, five-month labour dispute.

"Man I just got up not too long ago and see we have a deal! I feel like my kids on X-mas day! So juiced!! Excited for," said Miami Heat's LeBron James on his Twitter account. "Miami/South Florida let's go!!!! HEAT is gone be on FIRE."

    Most players went to bed on Friday night still locked out but awoke Saturday to reports that a settlement had been reached calling for training camps and the league's free agency period to begin on December 9.

    The news sparked a flurry of action on Twitter as players took to social media to express their relief and excitement.

    Owners and players must still ratify the handshake deal that would see the league play a 66 game schedule starting with a triple-header on Christmas Day.

    NBA commissioner David Stern said the deal would be put before the owners' labour relations committee during a teleconference later Saturday, before being passed on to the overall Board of Governors.

    The players, who de-certified their union in an effort to file a variety of antitrust lawsuits against the league, could require up to 10 days to re-form their union and approve any deal.

    "I'm pretty sure the vote will happen either tomorrow or Sunday, let's all pray this turns out well," said Indiana Pacers' Danny Granger on Twitter.

    Before celebrating, Memphis Grizzlies forward Shane Battier said he wanted to see the details of the new agreement and thanked the fans for their patience.

    "I am happy it looks like we'll get to start winning our fans back," said Battier on Twitter. "Thanks for the patience.

    "Need to read new details before I pop the bubbly."

    For many players, the agreement meant only one thing - it was time to go back to work.

    "I think it's time to #GOBACK2WORK!!!," said Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes on Twitter.

    "The lockout OVER no more peanut butter n jelly sandwiches," added Sacramento Kings Hassan Whiteside.