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Player salaries were reduced by 12 percent, and Stern emphasized new provisions that will allow teams to more easily escape difficult contracts and become competitive more quickly.

“We think it’s a very good deal, and it’s going to withstand the test of time,” he said.

But with the revenue split and system issues taking so much time, there was little opportunity to change the non-economic issues. The draft age limit will remain 19 years at least through the 2012 draft _ the league would have liked to go to 20, the players would like to abolish it entirely _ and blood testing for human growth hormone won’t be implemented this season.

Stern and the owners have been criticized for taking so long to come to an agreement, with no noticeable proof that the small-market teams who so badly needed relief are getting it. And the lockout comes with damage to the legacy of the 69-year-old Stern in his last CBA negotiations.

But he dismissed fears of that, believing he did what’s best for his owners and league.

“I think most importantly we’re back to basketball,” Silver said. “I think legacies aside, it would have been terrible for the players, for the teams, our fans, concessionaires, everyone involved if we had lost more games than we had, so I think that’s what’s most important.”

Training camps will open at 2 p.m. Friday, with the salary cap staying at $58 million. Having free agency the same day will be a challenge, but Stern said everyone was ready to go.

“We considered it, but on balance, our teams, our players and our fans were just saying let’s get it on,” he said. “So even though you could make a logical argument that we could have gained a day one place or the other, it was the overwhelming sentiment that we should just get going and we decided to do that.”