Reporting John Lauritsen
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A tentative agreement was reached early Saturday morning that could end the long NBA lockout. That means the delayed season could get started in a few weeks.
The breakthrough came at the end of a marathon bargaining session between NBA owners and players.
The NBA’s 450 players and 30 team owners still have to sign off on the resolution, but if they do it will be good news for the Minnesota Timberwolves and great news for businesses around Target Center.
“I’m excited to see Derrick Williams and the young guys and watch them build where they are going,” said Timberwolves fan Ben Martancik.
The Lifetime Fitness basketball court in downtown Minneapolis has had plenty of basketball this year, unlike the Target Center next door. Now the news that the lockout may be over has fans excited to be fans once again.
“Ricky Rubio, that’s going to be awesome. Looking forward to watching him play finally. And Kevin Love too,” said Timberwolves fan Kristal Grigsby.
At Kieran’s Irish Pub, business has been down about 10 percent on the nights the Timberwolves were supposed to play across the street. They are anticipating that fans who have been waiting to see a young team in action will make up for that.
“Obviously it’s going to turn out at the gate. About 15,000 people go to those games. We assume they will now draw a lot of interest with the new talent,” said Kieran’s Manager Brock Mortensen.
Because of the lockout, the Timberwolves laid off a dozen employees in July. Luckily, places like Kieran’s and Hubert’s haven’t had to make drastic changes yet. Saturday’s news means business is ready to rebound.
“Luckily they got it worked out and it will be happy holidays for everyone around Target Center,” said Hubert’s Manager Ryan Nelson.
The Timberwolves are not able to comment on the resolution until an agreement is officially signed. If anyone from the team does talk before then, the organization could face a $1 million fine from the league.
If this does go through, the Timberwolves first game at Target Center would likely be Dec. 26 against Oklahoma City. If tip off happens that night, the Timberwolves would have missed a total of eight games at Target Center.