National Basketball Players Association Executive Dir. Billy Hunter and NBA Commissioner David Stern

*(Via Yahoo News/AP) – After nearly two years of bickering, NBA players and owners are back on the same side.

“We want to play basketball,” Commissioner David Stern said.

Come Christmas Day, they should be.

The sides reached a tentative agreement early Saturday to end the 149-day lockout and hope to begin the delayed season with a marquee triple-header Dec. 25. Most of a season that seemed in jeopardy of being lost entirely will be salvaged if both sides approve the handshake deal.

Barring a change in scheduling, the 2011-12 season will open with the Boston Celtics at New York Knicks, followed by Miami at Dallas in an NBA finals rematch before MVP Derrick Rose and Chicago visiting Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.

Neither side provided many specifics about the deal, and there are still legal hurdles that must be cleared before gymnasiums are open again.

“We thought it was in both of our interest to try to reach a resolution and save the game,” union executive director Billy Hunter said.

Read MORE of this AP report at Yahoo News.

(L-R) Maurice Evans, Derek Fisher, Billy Hunter, NBA Commissioner David Stern, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, and Peter Holt speak to members of the press to announce a tentative labor agreement on Saturday.