Commissioner David Stern still must sell his owners on an agreement that could change the way they do business. And the players, looking beat and beaten, face a tougher healing process in approving a pact that significantly limits their earnings.
But considering everything owners sought when these negotiations opened with a contentious meeting at the All-Star break in February 2010, perhaps they will feel relieved they got as much as they did.
Players' association executives Derek Fisher and Maurice Evans hardly looked enthused about the agreement as they sat next to executive director Billy Hunter on the same side of a conference table with Stern, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver and Spurs owner Peter Holt, the chairman of the league's labor relations committee.
But at least they weren't sitting in a courtroom, where they appeared headed less than two weeks earlier.
Just 12 days after talks broke down, Stern and Hunter appeared together after 3 a.m. Saturday to announce the 10-year deal, with either side able to opt out after the sixth year. It leaves the NBA with its second shortened season (the first was the 50-game 1998-99 season), with the hope of getting in 66 games instead of a full 82-game schedule.