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Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011

NBA players get green light to return

AP

Miami — NBA arenas are about to be unlocked.

For the first time since the lockout began on July 1, NBA players are going to be welcomed back to their team facilities, said league spokesman Tim Frank. The league sent a memo to clubs Tuesday announcing the move, plus giving teams permission to begin speaking with agents at 9 a.m. Wednesday — though deals cannot yet be offered, and no contracts can be signed before Dec. 9.

Teams may host "voluntary player workouts" and physicals. Training camps will not open until Dec. 9, and the regular season is expected to begin Christmas Day with marquee matchups, including a Miami Heat-Dallas Mavericks rematch of last season's NBA finals.

A person familiar with the league's Christmas schedule told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the NBA will feature five games this year on Dec. 25 instead of the originally planned three. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the NBA does not plan to announce the Christmas lineup until later this week.



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